Glossary of Instructional Strategies

Current number of strategies and methods: 1271

Last updated: 27 July, 2013

Definitions written by Kelly Jo Rowan. ©1996-2013 Kelly Jo Rowan.

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10 + 2 (Ten Plus Two)
Direct instruction variation where the teacher presents for ten minutes, students share and reflect for two minutes, then the cycle repeats.
1st TRIP (First TRIP)
A reading strategy consisting of: Title, Relationships, Intent of questions, Put in perspective.
3-2-1 (Three-Two-One)
Writing activity where students write: 3 key terms from what they have just learned, 2 ideas they would like to learn more about, and 1 concept or skill they think they have mastered.
5 + 1 (Five Plus One)
Direct instruction variation where the teacher presents for five minutes, students share and reflect for one minute, then the cycle repeats.
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A-B-C Summarize
A form of review in which each student in a class is assigned a different letter of the alphabet and they must select a word starting with that letter that is related to the topic being studied.
Absentee Management
In addition to recording and reporting student absences according to their particular school's rules, teachers can also employ strategies designed to encourage students to attend class regularly. One approach is to call parents during the evening as soon as the student misses a day of school. This call can also be used to allow the teacher to get to know the parents better and to collect information to be used in the preparation of make-up materials for the child.
A thinking skill that involves summarizing and converting real-world events or ideas into models.
Academic Dishonesty Clarification
Any activities through which the teacher explains to the student what constitutes academic dishonesty for a particular class. Clarification is necessary because different forms of collaboration are allowed in different classes and for different activities and different levels of "copying" from sources are allowed in different classes and at different grade levels.
Accelerated Reading
A commercially produced reading program that includes quizzes administered via computer and student selection of books.
Acronym Memory Method
Example: ROY G. BIV = Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet
Act It Out
Act It Out: Dramatizing Stories from Asian American Cultures
Acting Out a Problem
Students can act out mathematical, scientific, or social problems to improve their comprehension.
Action Projects
A project where ideas learned through research are tested and applied in a real- world situation.
Action Research - NCREL
Activating Prior Knowledge
Helping learners connect to concepts about to be taught by using activities that relate to or determine the level of their existing knowledge.
Active Learning
Any approach that engages learners by matching instruction to the learner's interests, understanding, and developmental level. Often includes hands-on and authentic activities.
Adaptive Learning Environments Model (ALEM)
Combination of individual and whole class approach which helps to integrate students with special needs into the classroom.
Adaptive Scheduling
No one wants to take a test the morning after prom night or the big football game. When scheduling exams, ask students for suggestions about what would be good days and what days are already full with other activities. Some schools keep three month calendars in the office to let teachers know in advance when "big" activities are coming up and to allow adaptive scheduling of tests and activities.
Adaptive Testing
Admit Slips/Exit Slips
Teacher helps in the synthesis of learning by reading anonymous student writings aloud to begin or end a class.
Advance Organizer
David Ausubel's guidelines for an abstract introduction. Designed to activate prior knowledge and help students become more receptive to the learning that is to follow.
Advantages / Disadvantages
A two column graphic organizer.
So You Want to Be President? Advantages Disadvantages (PDF)
A brainstorming approach that encourages less verbal members of a group to participate. First, all members of the group write responses to the problem or question on separate cards, then the cards are silently grouped by each member while the others observe. After a discussion, the agreed upon arrangement is recorded as an outline or diagram.
Technique for motivating students by helping them believe they can "do things."
AGO (Aims, Goals, Objectives)
Edward de Bono's strategy to help students analyze the reasons behind actions.
Agree/Disagree Matrix
A formal approach to discussing and researching issues. Students are polled for agreement or disagreement with a statement and their responses as a group are recorded in the matrix. Students research the topic, and again their responses are recorded. Finally, small groups to meet to to discuss the results and changes.
Agreement Circles
Used to explore opinions. As students stand in a circle, facing each other, the teacher makes a statement. Students who agree with the statement step into the circle.
AIDA (Analysis of Interactive Decision Areas)
Creativity technique.
Analysis of Interactive Decision Areas (AIDA)
Aims, Goals, Objectives (AGO)
Edward de Bono's strategy to help students analyze the reasons behind actions.
Air Drawing
Students draw or motion in the air to demonstrate how they will carry out a procedure before they actually do so. Used in science labs, home economics, and classes where students use tools or musical instruments.
ALEM (Adaptive Learning Environments Model)
Combination of individual and whole class approach which helps to integrate students with special needs into the classroom.
Alphabet Summary
Each student is assigned a different letter of the alphabet and asked to generate a word starting with that letter that is related to the topic being discussed. Students share their terms with the class.
Alphabetic Foods Teams
Brainstorm the names of 26 foods (apple, bread, etc.). A paper is passed within the group and individuals write appropriate names in alphabetical order. Can be adapted to other categories (authors, cities, etc.).
Alternative Assessments
Any of a variety of assessments that allow teachers to evaluate their students' understanding or performance. Examples include: performance assessments, portfolios, journals, and authentic assessments.
Alternative Assessment - NCREL
Alternative Scenarios
A creativity technique in which students consider alternative futures. Useful in writing to encourage students to consider several plots and endings for their stories before settling down to write. In social studies or science classes, this approach can be useful in helping students see possibilities, both for the present, and for their own futures.
Alternative Scenarios
Alternative to Recitation
Similar to recitation, but the questions are generated by the students. Usually included : preparation (students read and generate questions), review, quiz, and evaluation.
A thinking skill demonstrated by a student when he or she can give examples similar to, but not identical to a target example. For example, the Internet is analogous to the post office (because in both, multimedia information is delivered to specific addresses).
Analysis of Interactive Decision Areas (AIDA)
Creativity technique.
Analysis of Interactive Decision Areas (AIDA)
Analytical Trait Scoring
Analyzing Perspectives
A thinking skill that involves considering a problem or topic from various perspectives. Related to "Point of View."
Anchored Instruction
A form of constructivism where learning is tied to the students' real world "anchors" (such as social or work experiences).
Anchored Instruction - John Bransford & the CTGV
Instructional theory by Malcolm S. Knowles dealing with the psychology and special needs of adult learners.
Andragogy (M. Knowles)
A motivational technique to encourage creativity or empathy students. Anecdotes can be about the teacher's life or excerpted from biographies to help students make real-world connections.
Anonymous Voting
Anticipation Guide
Checklist written by teacher to activate existing knowledge.
Examples of Anticipation Guides
Application Cards
At the end of instruction, students write a real world application for the knowledge on a small card and submit the card to the teacher.
Application Teaching
A constructivist approach centered on activities which involve learning which proceeds from more basic ideas to more complex. The expected products generated by the students are determined by the teacher.
Applied Behavior Analysis
For purpose of modifying student or class behaviors
Applied Imagination
Technique to stimulate creativity. Includes the use of questions as prompts to enable people to consider many, apparently unrelated, options.
Students work in the workplace under the guidance of mentors or tutors who take responsibility for the professional development of their apprentices.
Youth Apprenticeship
Argument Paper
Type of writing which presents a thesis, then supports that thesis with evidence or proof.
Argument Table
A table used to organize logical statements. Used in teaching logic in geometry and in expository writing classes.
Artifact Strategy
The teacher presents carefully selected objects (artifacts) to the students, poses a problem, and allows students to collect information about the object, then formulate answers to the presented problem.
Meetings of large groups, typically an entire student body, for the purpose of describing future events, sharing values, and recognizing achievement.
Finding or making association between concepts.
Assumption Smashing
List assumptions, then eliminate one. What might happen? (for example, "All forms of transportation are now free." What is the effect on society?)
Assumption Surfacing
Creativity technique.
Assumption surfacing
Asynchronous Learning
Listing attributes of concepts.
Attribute listing (and variants)
Audio Tapes
Educational audio tapes are most often used in language and music classes, but are also useful in social studies, physical education, and in building vocabulary in many fields.
Includes many categories of educational materials including: posters, paintings, slides, videos, films, audio tapes, and videotapes.
Authentic Assessment
Authentic Assessment Toolbox
Authentic Instruction
Instruction which is meaningful to students. Focuses on higher order thinking, depth of knowledge, real-world applications, and social interactions.
Writing a Great Authentic Task
Authentic Tasks
Authentic Task Design
Authentic task
Authentic Assessment Toolbox
Authentic Questions
Questions generated by learners in response to natural curiosity about the content. Questions spontaneously asked by learners without prompting by teachers.
Authentic Task
Writing a Great Authentic Task
Authentic Tasks
Authentic Task Design
Authentic task
Author's Chair
Students sit in a chair at the front of the class and present their work to the class.
Students can write their life stories as a writing activity, or explore the lives of prominent people by reading published autobiographies.
Biographies and Autobiographies: Life Models in the Classroom
The Autobiography of Anything
Any tangible object given to students to reward positive behavior or achievement. May include certificates, plaques, trophies, or ribbons.
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Back Words
Backward Forward Planning
Creativity technique.
Backward Forward Planning
Backwards Day
Backward Day
Backwards Spelling
Game using manipulatives to reinforce mnemonic approach.
Baggage Claim
Members in a new group are asked to write five interesting facts about themselves on a note card. For several minutes, people walk around the room, introducing themselves and sharing the facts on their cards. They then exchange cards (baggage) and move on to introduce themselves to others in the group. When time is up, the teacher or moderator collects all the cards and either returns them to their owners, or reads the facts and asks people to identify the owner of the card (baggage).
Bar Graph
Barrier Exercise
Basadur Simplex
A problem-solving strategy. Steps include: problem finding, fact finding, problem defining, idea finding, evaluating and selecting, action planning, gaining acceptance, taking action.
Mind Tools - Simplex - A Powerful Integrated Problem-Solving Process
Basket Stories
Basketball Review Game
How To Play the Basketball Review Game
Basketball review game
Be Here Now
David B. Ellis's method for focusing student attention when it begins to wander from the task at hand.
Beach Ball Questions
Ice Breakers | Beachball
Before & After
Before, During, and After
A metacognitive approach to reading that guides students to explore text Before reading to activate prior knowledge, monitor comprehension During reading, and summarize the reading After reading.
Before, During, and After - NCREL
Behavioral Observations
Measuring of students actions using either formal or informal methods.
Behaviorist Models
Based on the philosophy that learning is a change in behavior. Student behaviors which are rewarded will be repeated. Behaviors which are punished or ignored will decrease. Model stresses the importance of the environment in learning and treats the student's mind as an unknowable "black box."
Benchmark Performances
Big & Little Questions
Big Books
The use by a teacher of oversized books when reading to a group of children. The large size of the text and pictures makes it possible for all children in the group to see interact with the book at the same time.
Poems written by students about any specific person or object (character in book, living or inanimate objects). To summarize student knowledge of topic.
Blended Learning
Blogs, also known as weblogs, are online journals that can be used by the teacher as a means of sharing thoughts, assignments, or resources; or blogs can be created by students for the purpose of reflection, intergroup communication, or to fulfill particular assignments.
Using Blogs to Integrate Technology in the Classroom
Bloom's Taxonomy
An approach to ranking learning by the sophistication or depth of learning required or accomplished.
Bloom's Taxonomy
Book Box
Boxes of books, kept in the classroom, to be explored by students at their own pace.
Book Club
Groups who meet to discuss books.
Book Ends
Pairs of students discuss and make predictions before an activity, then meet after the activity to review and compare reactions.
Book Reports
A factual, written summary of a book.
Writing a Book Report
Writing a Book Report - First Steps
Books on Tape
Audio tapes of books that have been read aloud.
Book Talk
How to Do a Book Talk
Book talk
Booktalks Quick and Simple
Brain Lateralization
Because different hemispheres of the brain perform different functions, individual's learning styles and preferences are related to the functioning and dominance of the different halves (hemispheres) of their brains. Instruction can be adapted to fit variation in individual's brain preferences.
Brain Teaser
Brain-based Learning
An instructional model based on the idea that instructional activities are more effective if they occur in an environment compatible with the way the brain is designed to learn.
Brain-Based (Compatible) Learning
Group process where all ideas are accepted and recorded.
A creativity or problem-solving technique similar to brainstorming, but individuals write their ideas.
Students research a topic then create a brochure to explain the topic to others.
Buddy Program
Students are typically paired with a slightly older child for most of the year. The buddies meet once every week or two to work together on reading or spelling. The younger children benefit from individualized attention and the older children benefit by being able to act as a role model. Teaching recently learned skills reinforces and strengthens those skills, so the older children in such programs typically show as much improvement as their younger buddies.
Buddy System
Pairing students during the first week of class to create pairs who are responsible to help each other get missing assignments due to absence, or watch out for each other during field trips.
Budget Preparation
Students research and prepare budgets to understand costs and values.
Bulletin Boards (classroom)
Boards or wall space where information or materials can be posted to inform, excite, guide, or motivate students.
Bulletin Boards (online or electronic)
A web-based bulletin board or discussion board is a messaging system through which instructors and students can share information asychronously.
Extending the Classroom into Cyberspace: The Discussion Board
Teachers and programs can guide students in beginning a small business.
Start Your Own Business
Buzz Sessions
Small, informal group discussions.
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C-4 Yourself
Collaborative project strategy with four components: challenge, choice, collaboration, and creation.
Acronym is useful to help students remember which aspects of their writing they should check when editing. C-SOOPS stands for: Capitalization, Sentence structure, Organization, Overall format, Punctuation
CAF (Consider All Factors)
Edward de Bono's guided approach to decision-making that encourages individuals or groups to increase the number of factors or variables they consider before making a decision.
CAI (Computer-Assisted Instruction)
Students learn at own pace with interactive computer programs.
For use in computation, or for demonstrating skill with the calculator.
CALLA (Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach)
CALLA Handbook: Implementing the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach
Capitalization/Organization/Punctuation/Spelling (COPS)
Acronym is useful to help students remember which aspects of their writing they should check when editing.
Capsule Vocabulary
A teaching strategy to explore a few vocabulary words related to a specific topic.
Career Exploration
Activities, guides, and counseling to assist students make decisions about choosing their future professions, and how to get jobs in their chosen fields.
Carolina Teams Improvement
Scoring method where students receive bonus points for exceeding their individual target and team bonus points if their team's combined score exceeded their team's target.
Collaborative problem-solving using teams of three students.
Carousel Brainstorming
Subtopics or questions about a topic are posted throughout the room. Student groups brainstorm as they visit each of the subtopics.
Carousel Brainstorming
Cartoon Lecturette
Reading or creating cartoons.
Editorial Cartoons in the Classroom
Cooperative analysis of short, but critical, passages of text or graphics.
Case Studies
Case studies are real life problems that have arisen in the workplace that students must solve. Can also be used to explore interpersonal relationships.
Thinking skill that allows students to sort objects or concepts into categories according to a variety of criteria.
Causal Chain
Causal Mapping
A form of concept mapping in which causes and effects are more clearly shown.
Cause and Effect
A pattern showing the relationship between two actions or occurrences.
Cause and Effect (graphic organizer)
Cause with Multiple Effects
Classroom and school-based celebrations provide an opportunity to teach students more about their own cultures and that of their classmates.
Central Idea
Rhythmic text, repeated orally by individuals or a group to improve recall.
Character Analysis
Character analysis in education has two meanings. The most commonly used is to describe activities designed to help students understand characters in their fictional reading. The second meaning is analysis of the student's own character with regard to ethics and values.
Character Analysis: The Search for Self
Character Education
Activities designed to develop character, compassion, ethics, and responsibility in youth.
Character Education - Free Resources
In critical thinking, characterization a form of analysis of critical features of an object or concept. In writing, characterization is the creation of believable fictional characters.
Cheat Notes
Summarization technique. Students prepare a single note card of information they believe will be on test. Students are allowed to bring these notes to test. As students gain confidence, withdraw use of cards during test.
Checklists can be used to satisfy many objectives. They are useful as a memory tool or in encouraging creativity. They can also be used directly as assessments, or as a review tool in preparing for assessments.
Choice Boards
Choice Boards
Choice Boards (Tic-Tac-Toe Menus, Think-Tac-Toes, Learning Menus, Extension Menus)
Choice Theory
Glasser's updated Control Theory.
Choral Reading
Choral Reading
Choral Reading
Choral Response
In response to a cue, all students in the group respond verbally at the same time. The response can be either to answer a question, or to repeat something the teacher has said. Often used in learning languages and in repeating of computational facts.
Chronological Sequencing
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners in chronological order. Compare to: General-to-Specific, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, Whole-to-Part
A memorization technique.
Five Simple Techniques to Improve Your Memory
A writing technique.
CIRC (Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition)
A cooperative approach to reading in which students work in pairs for practice and to prepare for assessments. Teacher-administered assessments are not taken until the student's teammates decide they are ready for the assessment.
Circle Graph
Circles of Knowledge
Graphic organizer that prompts students to write: 3 Facts I Know, 3 Questions I Want Answered, and Answers to My Questions.
Student Activity Sheet: Circles of Knowledge
Student Activity Sheet: Circles of Knowledge
Circles of Learning
Cooperative learning method devised by Roger and David Johnson which combines whole class learning plus heterogeneous small groups. An extension of Johnson and Johnson's "Learning Together." Comprises eighteen steps designed to guide teachers through the team building and managing process.
Can be used as a signal BY the teacher or as a response FROM student to signal attention.
Formal and informal techniques used by a teacher to identify and eliminate confusion about ideas or assignments.
Clarifying Table
Graphic organizer to help students connect the current concept to related concepts or examples.
Class Meetings
When students are allowed to contribute to the operation of the classroom through class meetings, they have the opportunity to learn responsibility and decision-making skills.
Class Museum
Class Publication
Students collaborate to create a written work to be published. Formats might include: magazine, newspaper, brochure, map, newsletter, or yearbook.
When objects or concepts are classified, they are grouped with other, similar things, and the group is given a label. As a thinking skill, classification requires the application of knowledge. When students invent their own classifications, they practice discovery and invention along with being able to apply prior knowledge about the objects or concepts being classified.
Clean Up Song
To signal to students that it is time to begin cleaning up for the day, start a song for them to listen to while they clean up.
Clean Up Song
Clock Partners
Close Reading
Any activities which help students summarize key points learned and how the new knowledge relates to the objectives to be learned.
Cloze Procedure
An activity created by the teacher to give students practice with language usage. The teacher selects a passage of text, marks out some of the words, then rewrites the text with blank lines where the marked out words were. The result is a "fill in the blank" that should be enjoyable for the student while at the same time giving the teacher information about the student's language skills.
4-H, Chess, Science, etc.
Group problem-solving with each team member given a different clue.
Clues and Questions
Cluster Analysis
Graphic way of organizing concepts proposed during brainstorming. Similar to concept-mapping.
Co-op Co-op
Cooperative learning method where teams work to prepare and present a topic to the whole class. Emphasis is on student selection (of topics, partners, division of labor, methods of presentation, etc.).
Coaching Model
A model of instruction where the teacher is a guide and collaborator in the student's learning, not the sole director.
Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach (CALLA)
CALLA Handbook: Implementing the Cognitive Academic Language Learning Approach
Cognitive Apprenticeship
Cognitive apprenticeships take many forms, but the two key components are social interactions to allow students to work on problems that may be too difficult for them to handle individually, and a focus on real world problems using real-world tools.
Cognitive Apprenticeship
Cognitive Dissonance
Leon Festinger proposed this model to explain why people change their beliefs when two or more of their beliefs are in conflict with each other.
Cognitive Dissonance
Cognitive Learning Models
Based on the philosophy that learning occurs when there are changes in mental structure. Learning occurs as the result of interactions between the learner and the environment.
Cognitive Map
The psychological definition of a cognitive map is the framework in the human mind through which we interpret objects, events, and concepts. The phrase "cognitive mapping" has also been used to describe concept maps.
Collaborative Learning
Any kind of work that involves two or more students.
Collaborative Stories
Students gather images (clippings from magazines, photographs, or their own drawings) and organize them to illustrate a concept or point of view.
Could be after class student project or could be classification of classroom collection (books or plants, for example).
Collective Notebook
A notebook maintained by a group in which each member of the group is expected to add an idea or observation during a specified time period (typically each day or each week). The contents of the notebook are regularly shared or published and discussed.
Collective Notebook (CNB)
Color Coding
Labeling learning materials or concepts with color tags to assist identifying objects or ideas that belong together.
Colored Paper Grouping
A method for randomly assigning students to groups in which pieces of colored paper are passed out to students, then students with papers of the same color get toether.
Comic Books
Useful for engaging visual learners and encouraging a wide variety of students to become involved in discussions of literature and the wide range of social, scientific, and historical topics covered in comic books.
Volunteering to work on a student committee can teach students about values, decision making, interpersonal skills, and help them make important connections to the community at large.
Community Work
Student as volunteer. Students gain self-esteem and valuable experience through volunteer work.
To observe or consider the characteristics of objects or concepts, looking for both similarities and differences.
Compare and Contrast (graphic organizer)
Comparison Matrix
A graphic organizer that can assist students in gathering information and comparing objects or concepts.
Comparison Table
A decision-making tool enabling a structured comparison between choices.
Comparison Tables
Competitions can be useful in motivating some student to learn. Team competitions especially effective in the classroom if they are tied to a collaborative practice or review activity before the competition.
Completed Work Chart
Make and publicly post a chart that lists all assignments along the top and students' names vertically along the left.. When a student finishes an assignment, the teacher marks out the box for that assignment on the chart so students can quickly see if they are missing any work. In this approach, grades are never publicly posted, and if work is so late it will no longer be accepted, the box is also marked out. The chart is used only as a reporting mechanism to let students know about work they need to do that will still be accepted for credit.
Component Display Theory
David Merrill's highly structured approach to designing instruction.
Component Display Theory
A written work by a student to demonstrate some literary or linguistic knowledge. Also, any type of music written by a student.
Examples of Student Compositions and Online Mentoring Discussions (Music)
Comprehensible Input
Computer Games
Educational computer games can be purchased for students to use to review or explore concepts. Student can also design and create educational computer games to share with fellow students.
Constructivism at Work through Play (Kids Designing Computer Games)
Computer Simulations
Simulating events or situations on a computer enables students to experiment with concepts or materials quickly and safely.
The use of computer simulations in General Chemistry
Computer Software Design
Students design and create computer programs to learn more about writing, syntax, logic, design, and technology.
Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI)
Students learn at own pace with interactive computer programs.
Computer-Based Training
Finding solutions to problems involving numbers by carrying out the indicated operations.
Computation and Picture Books
Pairs of cards are created (name of concept on one, description on other for instance). Students take turns. On each turn student chooses 2 cards from face- down arrangement. Students keep pairs which they correctly identify as matching.
Concept Attainment Model
Inductive model of instruction where student are presented with examples and non-examples of a concept. Students generate hypotheses and attempt to describe (and sometimes name) the concept.
Concept Attainment
Concept Cards
Cards created by students that link terms to the use of that term in context.
Diagram of a concept circle.
Concept Circles
Challenge students to either name the concept or complete the missing section(s) of the circle. Concept = colors
Concept Development Model
Inductive teaching model. Concepts are taught using the sequence: list items, group items, label, regroup, synthesize, and evaluate (can students generate and group on their own?)
Concept Fan
A problem-solving technique which encourages people to examine and solve causes of problems.
Concept Fan
Concept Folders
Key concepts for course are each assigned a folder. Examples or illustrations of the concepts are kept in the folder for students to explore.
Concept Formation
The process by which we learn to identify concepts and which instances are examples of that concept.
Concept Map
Any of several forms of graphical organizers which allows learners to perceive relationships between concepts through diagramming keywords representing those concepts. Originally developed by Joseph Novak in the 1960's.
The Projectile Launch Project - Concept Maps Assignment
Concept Matrix
A two-dimensional approach to organizing information to solve problems or make connections between concepts.
Concept of Definition
Students construct organizing maps to explore meanings or definitions of words.
Concept Sort
Conceptual Change Model
Constructivist approach which involves identifying and clarifying student misconceptions, then using an activity to challenge these misconceptions.
A logical process in which students analyze facts and generate new facts based on what is known. For example: It is a dry, sunny day. The neighbors are watering their yard using a sprinkler. Our dog is leaving wet footprints on the porch. Conclusion, our dog has been in our neighbor's yard, running through the sprinkler.
Conditions of Learning
Robert Gagne's theory explaining the different types of learning and proposing that they require different types of teaching.
Conditions of Learning
Conferences are face-to-face discussions. Conferences may occur between teachers and students to enable teachers to give individual guidance, or they may be meetings between parents, teachers, and (sometimes) the student for the purpose of discussing the student's progress and issues relating to how to improve the educational experience for the student.
Student-Led Conferences: A Growing Trend
Parent-Teacher Conferences: Five Important Questions
Confirmative Evaluation
Conflict Chart
Conflict charts are used in three areas of education. Most commonly, they are used as a graphical tool to help students understand the motivation of real people or fictional characters, but they are also used as a tool to insure that students are scheduled for exactly one class per period with no "conflicts," and finally, they are used as a social and behavior management tool to analyze interpersonal conflicts.
Conflict Mediation
Mediation involves discussions in the presence of a mediator who is trained to help individuals find solutions to their differences.
Connect Two
Edward L. Thorndike's behavioral theory that learning occurs as the result of connections made in the mind between stimuli and responses.
Consequence and Sequel
Edward de Bono's guided approach that allows groups to explore both short term and long term effects of actions.
Consider All Factors (CAF)
Edward de Bono's guided approach to decision-making that encourages individuals or groups to increase the number of factors or variables they consider before making a decision.
Construction Spiral
A three-step process: individuals record their own thoughts, then small groups share ideas, finally, the whole group's ideas are written on the board. Corrections during the recording should be by the group and with no judgments by the teacher. If refinement of understanding is needed, a new question is posed.
Geometric constructions involve the copying or manipulation of geometric shapes using only a straightedge and a compass.
Constructivist Models
Based on the philosophy that knowledge cannot be transferred from the teacher to the student but must be constructed by each individual. Connections must be made between the student's existing conceptual network and the new material to be learned.
Constructivist Learning Model - Yager
Context Clues
When students encounter unfamiliar words, those words usually exist in an environment that includes many clues to word meanings. Meaning can be deduced or guessed by analyzing the context (the environment around the word).
Contextual Model
Based on philosophy that culture and other environmental contexts must also be considered in teaching child.
Contextual Sentences
Students take keywords and arrange them to form a continuum based on a variety of criteria. For example, "beaver, rattlesnake, deer, plankton" would be arranged as "rattlesnake, deer, beaver, plankton" if asked to arrange according to their preference for water, and "plankton, rattlesnake, beaver, deer" if asked to arrange according to size.
Contract Grading
Contracts are formal agreements between individuals or entities. For a contract to be effective or valid, usually some action is performed by one party of the contract and in exchange the party performing the action gets something of value in return. In a school setting, the student typically performs the "service" of behaving in a desirable way, and if successful, the student is rewarded.
Exploring or describing differences between objects or concepts.
Compare and Contrast (graphic organizer)
Control Theory
Glasser's theory explaining that, in an attempt to satisfy basic needs for survival, belonging, power, freedom, and fun, people will act to control their behavior to satisfy those needs. Control theory is related to Choice Theory.
Control Theory; A New Explanation of How We Control Our Lives
Hands-on activity that helps students make connections between the math, reading, and science they do in the classroom and a real-world application that most people do daily.
Cooperative Conflict Resolution
Cooperative approach to learning about how to prepare arguments and discuss arguments.
Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition (CIRC)
A cooperative approach to reading in which students work in pairs for practice and to prepare for assessments. Teacher-administered assessments are not taken until the student's teammates decide they are ready for the assessment.
Cooperative Learning Model
In this approach, students share knowledge with other students through a variety of structures. Cooperative Learning, as a phrase, originated in the 1960's with the work of David and Roger Johnson. True cooperative learning includes five essential elements: positive interdependence, face-to-face interactions, individual accountability, some structured activity, and team-building (group processing) skills. Similar to the "Social Learning Model."
Cooperative Learning - Houghton Mifflin
Cooperative Learning - Huitt
Cooperative Review
Groups take turns asking other groups questions. Often conducted as a game where points are awarded.
COPS (Capitalization/Organization/Punctuation/Spelling)
Acronym is useful to help students remember which aspects of their writing they should check when editing.
Reproducing drawings, text, motions, etc. Used to encourage students to look more carefully at something.
Students are asked to select (by standing next to their choice)from four options which are posted in the corners of the room. Students then defend choices and listen to others' choices.
Crawford Slip Writing
Students are provided with a pad of papers with text and graphical prompts to which they should respond as quickly as possible. Can be used with older students to generate ideas, or with younger students as a form of ungraded assessment.
Crawford Slip Writing
Crazy Definitions
Creative Thinking Reading
Teams of students work together to solve assigned problems using text provided by the teacher.
Criterion-referenced Assessment
Performance is compared to a set standard or objective. It is possible for all students to earn the highest possible grade if all meet the established criteria for that grade. (compare to Norm- referenced assessment)
Critical Instances
Critical thinking is a process whereby the learner considers a variety of possibilities, then chooses from those possibilities using unbiased, rational thinking.
A thinking skill involving judging or analyzing.
Critical Thinking - Section 3 - Criticizing an Argument
Critiques can take several different forms. In writing, students read and react to a single written work by summarizing information and evaluating the source's correctness, relevance, or viewpoint. In the arts, works of art are critiqued either in writing or through a discussion, to help students develop analytical and interpretive skills.
CS 561 - Written Critiques
Cross-Age Tutoring
Older students act as tutors to younger students. Often carried out in the form of a "buddy" program where all the fourth graders in a school may have a first grade "reading buddy" with whom they work.
Using multiple sources of information.
Have students share ideas during investigation of problems.
Crossword Puzzle
A closure technique that encourages students to reflect on the completed lesson. CROWN = Communicate what you learned. Reaction. Offer one sentence that sums up what the whole lesson was about. Where are some different places you could use this? Note how well we did today.
A six-part technique to explore different aspects of a topic. The six parts include: describing, comparing, associating, analyzing, applying, arguing.
Various means used by the teacher to let students know that particular material is important.
Cues & Questions
Cumulative Cases
A structured preschool program based on a series of thematic units
Cumulative Final
A cumulative final exam is an assessment for which the students are expected to know all concepts taught during the course. Some instructors have a policy of passing any student who can pass a cumulative final exam. The advantage to this approach is that students have a chance to pass up until the very end of the course. The disadvantage to this is some students will not do classwork because they can survive the course by taking a single test.
Current Events
Discussion or student work centered on events in recent news.
Why Teach Current Events?
Cushioning & Asking
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Daily Message
Early in the day, the Principal or Vice Principal start the day by addressing students. These short speeches are typically on such themes as "respect," handling peer pressure," or "being kind to others."
Daily News
Daily Outline
By posting a written overview of what will be done during the day, students can be prepared in advance. These overviews typically include a list of any work that should be done by the beginning of class, a list of work that will be done during the day, a list of work to be done as homework, and a brief description of the concepts to be covered and the resources needed (books, handouts, tools, and so on).
Dance can be used to teach coordination and discipline. Dancing in groups encourages students to become more observant and strengthens social bonds. Memorization of lengthy dance routines and the music associated with them stimulates parts of the brain involved with creativity.
Data Analysis
Having students gather and analyze data can connect them to real-world problems and also improve their critical thinking skills.
Collecting and Analyzing Data - The Soda Survey
Data Gathering
Students collect information in an organized way for use in statistical analysis, scientific research, or as support for arguments in social studies or other fields.
Special days during the school year when all activities center around a theme.
Storytelling Festival Day
Debates are arguments carried out according to agreed upon rules and used in the classroom to engage students and help them make connections to the curriculum.
Great Debates (PDF)
A form of reflection immediately following an activity.
Decision Making
Helping students learn to make better decisions improves their problem-solving skills and helps students be more effective in confronting choices outside the classroom.
Improving Students' Decision Making Skills (PDF)
Decision-Making Matrix
Method for assigning numerical values to criteria, and the extent to which alternatives satisfy criteria.
Decision-Making Tasks
A Meaningful Use Task where students identify criteria and alternatives then reevaluate the alternatives to make a decision.
Starting with general ideas and moving to more specific ideas within a topic. (compare to induction)
Deductive Inquiry
A form of inquiry with four basic components: presentation of a generalization, discussion of core elements of the generalization, student exploration of the elements, student generation of relevant examples of the generalized concept.
A writing strategy by Edwin S. Ellis.
Any activity that requires students or teachers to state the meaning of a word or phrase.
Ask students to support one point of view on topic, then take and support opposing point of view. Then write position paper.
An activity to show students how things work or how they happen. Demonstrations are often used in science classes.
Chemical Demonstrations in the Classroom
Telling about something. When done by teachers, descriptions are usually used to introduce new information. When done by students, descriptions are used to demonstrate knowledge of a concept.
Design Contests
In addition to design contests within the classroom, many corporations sponsor design contests to encourage creativity and innovation at many levels of education.
Student Contests and Competitions
A form of planning.
Classroom Compass - Design in the Classroom
Detailed Timeline
Devil's Advocate
A dialectical approach in which the teacher proposes or defends an extreme or unpopular viewpoint. Used to initiate or stimulate a discussion or debate, For example, in a class on environmental issues the teacher might suggest that the nearby wetlands be drained because of the many mosquitos that breed there.
Dialectical Approaches
A discussion or argument in which a thesis and its antithesis are broken down into related core ideas in order to help participants evaluate or challenge existing assumptions.
Dialectical Approaches
Dialectical Journal
A two column note-taking or journal method that features quotes or ideas from the text in one column, and ideas from the reader in the other column.
Dialectical Journals
Dialogue Journals
Didactic Instruction
Teacher-centered instruction in which the teacher tells the student what to think about a topic. Used for the delivery of factual (not debated) information.
Didactic Questions
Questions which tend to have a single answer and allow students to demonstrate lower order thinking like recall.
A technique for analyzing the style of a piece of literature. Diction (choice of words), Imagery, Details, Language, and Syntax (structure and patterns of sentences).
DIDLS Breakdown
A three-dimensional scene, usually created by the students, and acting as a miniature model.
Direct Instruction
Teacher-centered instruction which includes lecture, presentation, and recitation.
Summary of Principles of Direct Instruction - Huitt
Direct-Interactive Teaching Model
A direct teaching approach that typically follows a cycle that includes: checking previous work, presenting new material, student practice with new material, feedback from the teacher, independent practice, regular reviews.
Directed Paraphrasing
Students are asked to summarize or explain a concept or theory to a specific (imaginary) audience. For example, a medical student might be asked to explain what neurotransmitters are, and phrase the explanation so it would make sense to a hospitalized patient.
Directed Reading Thinking Activity (DRTA)
Throughout reading, questions are used to activate students' existing knowledge. Students are encouraged to make predictions.
Instructions given by the teacher to the students describing what the students should be doing.
Directive Model
A teacher centered model that focuses on student activities being guided by teacher directions and direct transmission of information.
Disappearing Definition
Discovery Teaching
A constructivist approach. Students begin learning with an activity designed to lead them to particular concepts or conclusions. Students acquire basic and advanced knowledge in random order.
Classroom discussions typically begin with the teacher describing the goal or purpose of the discussion. Sometimes discussions may be initiated by the posing of an open-ended question. Teachers can employ a number of techniques to encourage students to participate in discussions, including calling on specific people, or assigning students to be an "expert" or leader for various parts of the discussion. Many cooperative activities include a "small group" discussion as teams work together.
Class Discussions - NCREL
Discussion Appointments
Discussion Board
A web-based bulletin board or discussion board is a messaging system through which instructors and students can share information asychronously.
Extending the Classroom into Cyberspace: The Discussion Board
Discussion Groups
In the classroom, a discussion group is formed when a discussion is carried out by only a part of the class. Outside the classroom, discussion groups are composed of individuals with similar interests. These groups meet regularly to discuss a variety of literary or social issues.
Discussion Web
A form of discussion that starts out with individual students formulating a response, then each student pairs with one other, then the pairs pair to form groups of four. Finally, when the groups have refined their answers, they share their thoughts with the whole class.
To cut apart and analyze an animal. plant, device, or idea.
Make a Frog Sandwich - Bowersox
Distance Education
Distance Learning
Define problem, Open self to new ideas, Identify best solution, Transform idea to action.
Dog Paddles
A whole class, kinesthetic approach in which students raise one of two dog-shaped "paddles" in response to verbal prompts. For example, in a science class, paddles could be labeled "carnivore" and "herbivore." "Prime" and "composite" could be used in a math class. "Socialism" and "capitalism" could be the paddle labels in a social studies class, and so on. Dog-shaped paddles can be cut from construction paper and taped to folded card stock or rulers.
Domain of Learning
Double Cell Diagram
A form of graphic organizer linking two items.
Students complete writing or creative work in stages to facilitate progress from capturing ideas quickly to the use of more detailed revision and editing skills. (See Quintilion Progression)
Students act out roles from stories or historical events.
Students can illustrate text they have read, draw diagrams of problems they have heard, or simply draw to stimulate creativity.
Dream Diary
Useful creativity technique in art and writing classes. Students keep a diary of their dreams, then can use the images and ideas in their compositions.
Keeping a Dream Diary
Practice by repetition. Often used to reinforce grammar and basic math skills.
Drawing and writing.
About "Driting"
Drive Reduction
A theory of learning developed by Clark Hull which describes the drives (needs) individuals have and that learning occurs because individuals strive to reduce their drives (satisfy their needs).
Drive Reduction Theory
DRTA (Directed Reading Thinking Activity)
Throughout reading, questions are used to activate students' existing knowledge. Students are encouraged to make predictions.
A group consisting of two students.
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A technique to connect students to people around the world to collaborate on projects or distance learning. E-mail can also be used to provide a direct communication link between the teacher and the students' parents.
Echo Reading
Eight Square
El Zippo Game
A thinking skill that involves adding to, improving, or completing an idea or process.
Electronic Learning
Elevator Speech
Technique to increase creativity: be at Ease, make Lists, Vary the lists, Eureka, Select.
Emergent Literacy
The concept that learning to read or write does not happen quickly but is built upon many small steps that occur over the course of the child's early childhood. The process begins with activities that happen naturally in the home such as talking with and reading with the child, then continues in the classroom with more formalized strategies to encourage reading and writing.
John Locke's philosophical assertion that all knowledge is based on experience.
Envelope, Please
An activating strategy used prior to beginning a new topic.
Error Analysis
Error analysis takes two basic forms in the classroom. In the most common form, teachers analyze the errors students make (in mathematical computation, grammar, language, literature interpretation, and so on) and use that analysis to guide further instruction. In science classroom, some teachers teach students to analyze experimental errors to improve critical thinking skills.
A short, written work, centered on a single subject.
Proposing an approximate answer to a problem or question.
Estimation Lineup
An activity designed to activate students' prior knowledge before new material is presented.
A critical thinking skill involving judging to place a value on ideas or work.
Evocative phrases
Used to help identify key attributes when employed by the teacher in a discussion. Can also be used in writing or drawing projects to produce unique and memorable projects.
Exaggeration (magnify or minify)
Ideas or objects drawn from a group of ideas or objects to represent core features of the group from which they are drawn.
Exemplification and the Example
Exit Slips
Teacher helps in the synthesis of learning by reading anonymous student writings aloud to begin or end a class.
Expectation Outline
A pre-reading activity in which students skim the assigned reading, then write down some questions they expect to be able to answer, or key concepts they expect to learn about, as the result of completing the reading.
Experiential Learning
Carl Roger's theory that there are two types of learning: cognitive (memorizing or studying simply because work is assigned) and experiential (learning to satisfy the needs and wants of the learner). Studying a book with commonly used phrases in Norwegian is experiential if you are planning a trip to Norway, but the same activity is cognitive if you are taking a language class and the teacher assigns reading from the book.
Carl Rogers
Experiential Learning
Experimental Inquiry
As a Meaningful Use Task it includes observation, analysis, prediction, testing, and re-evaluation. As a variation of inquiry, experimental inquiry involves generating and testing hypotheses to explain phenomena.
Tests to demonstrate or discover something.
Skill Handbook : Practicing Scientific Processes
An explanation answers a question. Good explanations take into account the prior knowledge of the questioner and the "intent" of the question. Explanations are given by both teachers and students in the classroom. Students are often asked to explain a concepts as part of assessing their knowledge. Teachers are asked for explanations during all phases of instruction.
Extempore dialogues
Extended STaR
Expanded version of Story Telling and Retelling - A Success For All approach.
Extension Teaching
Extension teaching takes two forms. The most common form is outreach programs where educators travel to the student's location to provide instruction on topics of professional or personal interest. Agricultural extension experts who travel from their home college to provide onsite support to farmers are the classic example of this approach. Another form is a constructivist method related to application teaching. It is centered on activities which proceed from more basic ideas to more complex. The expected products generated by the students are more variable than in application teaching.
Ten Guiding Values of Extension Education
Welcome to the Journal of Extension
Extrapolation of Data
Given a set of data, students are asked to predict what would occur outside the range of that data.
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Facilitative Questioning
To "facilitate" means to help another person accomplish something. Facilitative questioning is an approach whereby a teacher or counselor poses open-ended questions to the student to allow them to explore ideas that may be complex or emotionally difficult. In writing classes, the purpose of facilitative questions is to allow the teacher to give assistance to the students without actually contributing new ideas to the work being written. In counseling, the purpose of facilitative questions is to allow the student to generate their own solutions to problems or tasks without being unduly influenced by the counselor's ideas. Facilitative questioning is used most often in situations where there is no right answer but the solution is dependent on what is best for the individual.
Adult Bullying: Examples of useful facilitative questions
Fact vs. Opinion
A theme-based event that includes exhibitions of products or skills, along with some "fun" aspects. The tone can range from purely academic (as is typical of science fairs) to carnival-like (as is typical of culture fairs). Fairs provide an opportunity for students to perform and to learn about long-range planning of events, in addition to the underlying subject content that forms the theme of the fair.
Any means by which a teacher informs a student about the quality or correctness of the student's products or actions. Different forms of feedback include formal assessments (Example: a written grade on a student project), oral and written guidance (Example: "Good, but needs more work on the Conclusion"), and casual comments or nonverbal signals (Example: a nod indicating correctness or agreement).
A creativity technique using the acronym FFOE: Fluency (many ideas), Flexibility (variety of ideas), Originality (unique ideas), and Elaboration (fully developed ideas).
Field Guides
A useful student project is to guide students in the creation of a field guide. Field guides typically provide information that would be needed outside the classroom in the study of such diverse fields as plants, animals, architecture, cultures, or business practices. Normal components of a field guide include: common names, formal names, definitions, graphic illustrations, explanations of the range (where you expect to find things), relevant dates, key facts, warnings, and "interesting notes."
Create a Field Guide of Local Plants
Field Observations
Students leave the classroom to observe events, organisms, and objects in their natural surroundings. Field observation usually includes the collection and recording of data in a field journal.
Field Trips
A field trips is any activity that occurs outside the classroom for the purpose of providing hands-on experience with objects or people that only occur in certain places. Target locations for field trips can include museums, zoos, places of business, farms, nearby colleges, theaters, historical monuments or buildings, forests, wetlands, nature parks, or the grounds of the school itself.
Field Trip to School
Motion pictures can be used to enhance learning of literature, language, or historical events.
A form of presentation, in which a series of still images are projected onto a screen. To accompany the images, usually an audio tape is played that includes cues to advance the film to synchronize the image and audio portions. This format is still used in a few places, but has largely been superseded by videotapes and interactive web pages.
Find Someone Who
A variation of the Human Scavenger Hunt. Usually this activity is used to encourage students to seek out the students in class whop know the answers to specific content questions. This works most effectively if each student is an "expert" on a different topic or sub-topic than the others in the class.
Find the Fib
Team activity where groups of students write two true statements and one false statement, then challenge other teams (or the teacher) to "Find the Fib."
Find the Rule
Students are given sets of examples that demonstrate a single rule (like "i before e except after c.") and are asked to find and state the rule.
Find Your Partner
A method for assigning students to groups and at the same time reviewing previous concepts. Equations, sentences, or questions and answers are written on a single piece of paper, then the parts of the sets are cut apart. The parts are distributed to students who compare papers with other students until they find their match.
Finding and Investigating Problems
One key element of scientific research is finding and investigating problems. Exposing children to real life data and asking them to "create" problems from this data can result in more meaningful problem-solving and a deeper understanding of "what science is."
Finding Clues in a Picture
An activity where the teacher guides students to find clues about reading by asking a series of leading questions.
Finding Clues in a Picture - How to
FIP (First Important Priorities)
Edward de Bono's process for listing, then prioritizing options. Useful in decision-making and in strengthening critical thinking skills.
First Important Priorities (FIP)
Edward de Bono's process for listing, then prioritizing options. Useful in decision-making and in strengthening critical thinking skills.
First Lines
First TRIP (1st TRIP)
A reading strategy consisting of: Title, Relationships, Intent of questions, Put in perspective.
An organizing tool to help students visualize how many events can be tied to or contribute to a result.
Discussion format where students are selected from the class. They sit in front of the class as a panel to discuss topic while class observes. Then discussion is opened to whole class.
Fit Them In
Five Plus One (5 + 1)
Direct instruction variation where the teacher presents for five minutes, students share and reflect for one minute, then the cycle repeats.
Five Whys?
Asking a chain of "why questions," with each question deeper into the root cause of a problem.
Five Words - Three Words
Students list five topic-related words independently. Students are grouped and share words. Groups pick best three words and explain to class.
Flash Cards
Traditional flash cards are note cards with a question, problem, or fact on one side, and the answer or a related fact on the other side. Flash cards can be used by individual students for independent practice, or can be used by pairs of students to practice as a team. More recently, online flash cards have appeared on the Internet. Online flash cards take many forms, but typically include either a box where you can type in your answer, or have sets of answers to choose from.
Flashcard Exchange
Printable Sign Language Flash Cards
Flexible Groupings
Flow Charts
Flow charts are graphical depictions of processes or relationships. Typically flow charts include icons showing particular processes or steps, and arrows indicating paths.
A vase with fresh flowers on the teacher's desk or near a window can positively alter the mood of many students. They can also be used as "spur of the moment" manipulatives for many activities. Flowers can be dissected in a science class, used as models in a drawing class, or used as a writing prompt for a writing activity.
Focused Imagining
A form of guided imagery where students are led to form mental images under the guidance of the teacher. Can be done either through written directions or step-by-step oral directions from the teacher.
Focused Listing
Students make lists with the purpose of sharing them during a subsequent discussion or collaborative activity.
Focused Listing
Focused Practice
Effectiveness of Foldables Versus Lecture//Worksheet In Teaching Social Studies In Third Grade Classrooms (PDF)
Force Field Analysis
A decision-making tool in which all forces for and against a plan are considered and evaluated.
Force-Field Analysis
Forced Analogy
Make analogies by comparing problem term to a randomly selected term (for example, compare algebra to a cracker). Then use the new combinations to solve a problem or create something.
Forced Choice (Activity)
A classroom activity in which a small number of choices are placed around the classroom and students are asked to examine all the choices, then stand next to their choice. Students selecting the same choice then discuss reasons or advantages and disadvantages of their choice.
Forced Choice (Assessment)
Forced Relationships
A variant of the Forced Analogy approach to generating possible solutions to problems. In Forced Relationships, objects are paired to a seemingly unrelated task and students are forced to use the unrelated objects to accomplish the task. For example, the students might be told they need to water the flowers in the windowsill box using the water from the sink across the room, and their only tools are a flashlight and a piece of paper. Possible solutions would be to take apart the flashlight (placing the parts on the paper) then use the handle as a cup to carry water, or the paper could be folded into a temporary cup then discarded after the watering was done.
Forecasting is a kind of extrapolation in which current trends (in weather, or in the economy) are analyzed and predictions are made about future events based on those trends.
Certain types of information can be illustrated by having groups of students stand in certain positions to make shapes representing answers. If the answer is a "2," for example, students can form the number two by where they stand in the room. In Formations, the teacher asks a series of questions, all of which have "formable" answers, then the students create the answers by their movements.
Formative Assessment
Formative and Summative Assessments in the Classroom
Formulas are mathematical expressions using symbols to represents real-world quantities. Students can generate, use, or solve problems with formulas.
A panel in which members talk freely with the audience.
Four Corners
Label the four corners of the room with "Disagree, Strongly Disagree, Agree, Strongly Agree." Read a controversial statement and have students write on a piece of paper whether they agree, disagree, strongly agree, or strongly disagree with the statement. When all are finished writing, have students go to the corner representing their point of view. All student sharing a point of view work together to collect evident and present an argument supporting their beliefs.
Four Corners
Frayer Model
Vocabulary development tool in which students use a graphic organizer to categorize their knowledge about a word.
Free Association
Creativity technique similar to brainstorming.
Free Association
Free Write and Share
Students write in response to some stimulus (music, topic oriented, question oriented), then share their writing with the class.
Freewriting is a timed activity to stimulate the flow of ideas and words. Students are given a topic and must write everything they can think of about the topic. The rules are that students must not stop writing, even if they "run out of things to say," and they may not do any editing or criticism during the writing. After the time is up, you can either read the writing aloud, or scan what you have written and pull out ideas or phrases you can use.
Fussing with Definitions
A formal, cooperative method for rewriting definitions.
Fuzzy Logic
Many statements are not true or false but lie somewhere in between. To assign value to statement, false = 0, true = 1, statement can fall anywhere on the continuum between 0 and 1. Also known as Fuzzy Thinking.
Fuzzy Thinking
Many statements are not true or false but lie somewhere in between. To assign value to statement, false = 0, true = 1, statement can fall anywhere on the continuum between 0 and 1. Also known as Fuzzy Logic.
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Similar to Carousel Brainstorming.
Gallery Method
Games can take many forms, but in the classroom, any activity that involves a competition, social interaction, and some form of prize or award would be considered a game. Classroom game activities are typically not graded, and student participation is based on the desire to contribute to a team or to individually achieve some prize or recognition. Usually games have "winners." Ideally, even the "losers" of the game should feel that the experience was enjoyable.
Games That Teach
PBS Kids
Students are given sentences or sequences with gaps (missing words, numbers, or symbols) and are asked to fill in the gaps.
Students plan, plant, and tend a garden. As a side activity, students also will need to plan what to do with the products of the garden and how (if necessary) to return the land to its original state.
Extension Master Gardeners Valued by Teachers in School Gardening Programs
School Gardens
School Gardens
An inquiry-based model used in the teaching of history. The steps include: Get an overview, Ask questions, Triangulate the data, Hypothesize, Explore and interpret data, and Record and support conclusions.
Promoting Historical Inquiry: GATHER Model
General Inquiry
A teaching strategy in which students learn to identify and explore problems, then use the discovered facts to form a generalized response to the problem.
General-to-Specific Sequencing
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners beginning with general principles and proceeding to specific concepts. Compare to: Chronological, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, Whole-to-Part
To restate information to show basic principles.
Generative Learning Model
A four phase method (preliminary, focus, challenge, and application) that encourages students to "do something" with information. This constructivist approach allows students to construct (or generate) meaning through their active use of information.
Generative Vocabulary Strategies
Examples include: Possible Sentences, Keyword Strategy, Vocabulary Self-Collection Strategy. (VSS)
Genetic Epistemology
Jean Piaget proposed that children pass through different stages of cognitive development. For example: during very early stages, children are not aware of the permanence of objects, so hiding an object causes the child to lose interest. Once the child has acquired the ability to think of the object as still existing even when out of sight, the child will begin to look for the missing object.
Gestalt Theory
Max Wertheimer's theory that deals with the nature of whole problems or concepts. Gestalt theory stresses the importance of the relationship between objects in a group and the relatedness of concepts. Gestalt is about "the big picture" and originated as a response to the traditional scientific approach of breaking things down into their component parts and seeking understanding by analyzing the parts. Systems are more than the sum of their parts, and learners know more than the sum of the bits of knowledge they have memorized. Many of the current holistic approaches are based on Wertheimer's Gestalt Theory.
Gestalt Theory (Wertheimer)
Get the Gist with 20 Words
GIST Statements
Go on, smile!
Gowin's Vee Diagram
A form of graphic organizer developed by Bob Gowin to help students develop hierarchies from their reading and prior knowledge and use that knowledge to make sense of their central question or research interest.
The Vee Diagram: A Guide for Problem-Solving (PDF)
Grab Bag
Near the conclusion of a lesson, have a student draw an object from a bag. The student must explain or illustrate how the object is related to what they have learned.
Myth Grab Bag
Graffiti Walls
Grant Writing
Grant writing is most often assigned in college or professional courses, but could be done at higher secondary levels. A grant is a financial award, either from government or industry, and intended to fund a project with wide applications. Grant writing, as a process, involves finding and investigating problems, writing persuasive text, researching related work, and demonstrating the feasibility of the proposed work.
Graphic Organizer
Graphic organizers are visual frameworks to help the learner make connections between concepts. Some forms of graphic organizers are used before learning and help remind the learner of what they already know about a subject. Other graphic organizers are designed to be used during learning to act as cues to what to look for in the structure of the resources or information. Still other graphic organizers are used during review activities and help to remind students of the number and variety of components they should be remembering.
Graphic Organizers that Support Specific Thinking Skills
Graphic Organizers - NCREL
A diagram that represents numerical data.
Green Light
Greeting Cards
Students design and create greeting cards to share with friends and relatives.
Lesser-Known Holiday Greeting Cards
Greeting each student at the door allows teachers to establish an individual, positive contact with each student that is not possible once the entire class is assembled.
Meeting and Greeting Students at the Beginning of Class
Group Investigation
The class is divided into teams. Teams select topics to investigate, gather information, prepare a report, then assemble to present their findings to the entire class.
Group Investigation
Group Summary Writing
Group Work
Any method involving two or more students.
Structured Learning Team Group Roles
Team Expectations
Group Writing
Students work in teams of two or three to brainstorm, write, and edit a single document.
Group-Based Instruction
Guess and Check
One approach to solving math problems is to Guess at an answer, then Check to see if it is the correct solution.
Guess and Check
Guess Box
An object is hidden in a container and students ask questions about the content of the box in order to identify it and its characteristics.
Guest Speakers
Guest speakers come into the classroom to share specialized knowledge about their profession or their hobbies. Guest speakers help to form connections between knowledge acquired in the classroom and real-world applications.
Guest Teachers
Guest Teacher has two meanings. The first meaning is when a teacher teaches a class on a topic in which he or she specializes and the normal teacher for the class is present to learn from the presentation. An example of this kind of Guest Teaching might occur if a math teacher also happened to be an expert on the American Civil War and had artifacts to share and explain to a a social studies class. More recently, substitute teachers are being referred to as "guest teachers" to remind students that these teachers are guests in the school.
National Substitute Teachers Alliance
Guided Discovery
Teaching model where students learn through explorations, but with directions from teacher.
Guided Discussion
Similar to recitations, but the purpose is to help students make interpretations.
Guided Imagery
Students are helped to visualize through daydreams "structured" by the teacher.
Guided Oral Practice
Guided Practice
Guided Practice is a form of scaffolding. It allows learners to attempt things they would not be capable of without assistance. In the classroom, guided practice usually looks like a combination of individual work, close observation by the teacher, and short segments of individual or whole class instruction. In computer based or Internet based learning, guided practice has come to mean instructions presented on the learner's computer screen on which they can act. This action may be to perform some task using a program that is running at the same time, or it may be to interact with a simulation that is embedded in the program or web page.
Guided Practice
Guided Questioning
A form of scaffolding for reading in which the teacher's questions start out with many clues about what is happening in the reading, and then as comprehension improves, the questions become less supportive.
Guided Reading
Structured reading where short passages are read, then student interpretations are immediately recorded, discussed, and revised.
Guided Writing
Guided writing can take many forms. It can consist of a teacher making suggestions to an individual student, or it may be whole class brainstorming followed by a question and answer session to clarify specifically what will be written. In all forms of guided writing, the teacher's role is to encourage student responses.
Sample Guided Writing Lesson
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Habits of Mind
Habits of Mind centers on the idea that students can learn more effectively if they regulate their own thought processes.
Habits of Mind - NCREL
Ham it up!
Hands-On means any instructional activity that is emphasizes students working with objects relevant to the content being studied. Variations include: Hands-On Science, Hands-On Math, and so on.
Assigning responsibilities to students encourages responsibility and serves as a form of recognition and pride for many students. Being "in charge" of the student lunch count or clean-up of the play area helps students to learn leadership skills.
Heterogeneous Grouping
Making an educated guess to reduce the amount of time needed to solve some types of problems.
Hidden Word Game
Writing sentences in which a word is hidden. For example: The school mouse ate a cherry for her morning snack. has the hidden word TEACHER (The school mouse aTE A CHERry for her morning snack.)
Hierarchical Analysis
A form of classification in which involves ranking a group of objects or concepts.
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS)
In the simplest sense, higher order thinking is any thinking that goes beyond recall of basic facts. The two key reasons to improve higher order thinking skills are first, to enable students to apply facts to solve real world problems, and second, to improve retention of facts. In addition to the basic meaning of "higher order thinking skills" HOTS is also used to refer to a specific program designed to teach higher order thinking skills through the use of computers and the Socratic Method to teach thinking skills.
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) Program
Marking key concepts with a different color to emphasize importance.
History Frames/Story Maps
Holistic Instruction
Involves the use of problems or activities which are multi-dimensional or multidisciplinary. Usually involves long- term and authentic activities.
Holistic Learning
Involves the use of problems or activities which are multi-dimensional or multidisciplinary. Usually involves long- term and authentic activities.
In this approach, parents take full responsibility for the education of their children by preparing and presenting lessons at home.
Homeschool World
Homework is work done outside the classroom. Homework tends to fall into one of two categories. The commonest kind of homework is work assigned by the teacher that the student could theoretically have completed in class (given time). This kind of homework is intended to give students extra practice with skills or concepts that have already been presented or demonstrated. The second kind of homework is work that MUST be completed outside the classroom. This type of homework may be a project the student must complete on their own time or may be a kind of work that involves resources outside the classroom.
Homework Checking
Homework can be checked by students, parents, teachers, or by peers of the student. There are benefits and liabilities to each of these approaches. From the standpoint of liabilities: if the only person checking the homework is the student, inexperience with the material may result in errors, even if a key is used. If homework is checked at home by parents, then the parent would help to correct any mistakes and the teacher (not seeing that the student had difficulty), would proceed too quickly to the next subject. If the only person correcting homework is the teacher, the time consumed for proper checking would take away from planning and preparation for other activities. Finally, allowing peers (fellow students) to check classmates homework bothers many because it results in a decrease in privacy for students who may not want peers to know his or her state of understanding.
Peer Grading Passes Muster, Justices Agree
Hot Potato
Hot Seat
HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills)
In the simplest sense, higher order thinking is any thinking that goes beyond recall of basic facts. The two key reasons to improve higher order thinking skills are first, to enable students to apply facts to solve real world problems, and second, to improve retention of facts. In addition to the basic meaning of "higher order thinking skills" HOTS is also used to refer to a specific program designed to teach higher order thinking skills through the use of computers and the Socratic Method to teach thinking skills.
Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) Program
Human Treasure Hunt
Often used as an introductory activity. Good for introducing and relaxing students during the first week of class.
Humor can be helpful in motivating students and in creating a community spirit.
A tentative explanation for patterns or observations.
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I Have – Who Has?
I'm Thinking of a Word
I'm Thinking of a Word (PDF)
I'm Watching Someone
Behavior management technique where the teacher tells students that two students have been selected to be carefully observed, and if they behave well, the entire class will receive a reward. If the behavior was positive and there is a reward, the students are told who was being watched.
I'm Watching Someone
I've Done Something You Haven't Done
An ice breaker in which each student is challenged to describe to the class something they have done that they believe no one else in the class has done.
Ice Breakers
Activities designed to help people get acquainted in new situations or environments.
Idea Recording
Mechanisms to capture ideas whenever they occur.
Idea Spinner
Teacher creates a spinner marked into four quadrants and labeled "Predict, Explain, Summarize, Evaluate." After new material is presented, the teacher spins the spinner and asks students to answer a question based on the location of the spinner. For example, if the spinner lands in the "Summarize" quadrant, the teacher might say, "List the key concepts just presented."
Problem-solving and creativity technique where students draw ideas on index cards, then rearrange the cards to search for new, possibly useful patterns.
To identify an object or concept involves the student being able to recognize an object or concept to which the student was previously exposed.
Illustrated Talks
A form of lecture in which the speaker tells how to do something, or shares information with the audience, but does not "show" the audience how to do anything. The talk is supported by visual aids like charts, diagrams, and photographs.
Using pictures or diagrams to explain or decorate.
IM (Instant Messenger)
Fusion of imagination and engineering. Visualize solutions to problems using existing scientific knowledge.
Copy painting, style of writing, etc.
In language immersion, all learning is carried out in a language that is not the student's native language.
In What Ways Might We (IWWMW)
I W W M W - - - (In What Ways Might We----) (PDF)
Inclusion is the process of providing all students with the opportunity to participate in the school community regardless of their individual strengths or limitations.
Incidental Learning
Independent Practice
Practice done without intervention by the teacher. This approach includes many activities done with a computer.
Independent Reading Programs
Programs in which students proceed at their own pace through reading and take assessments when they feel prepared. Accelerated Reading is one example of an Independent Reading Program. In some programs, students may choose their books from a pre-selected pool of books. In other cases, the reading is ordered and students read the books in a particular sequence.
Independent Reading Program
Index Card
Individualized Instruction
Using information from specific facts or ideas to construct general principles. (compare to deduction)
Induction Matrix
A form of graphic organizer using a grid to compare concepts and categories. The matrix is filled in at the beginning of a lesson and as students learn more, they correct and update the matrix to reflect new knowledge.
Inductive Inquiry
Teaching that follows the cycle used in scientific inquiry. Steps usually include: searching the literature, making observations, generating hypotheses, designing and carrying out experiments, then analysis of results and restarting the cycle.
The Logical Cycle of Inductive Inquiry
Inductive Thinking
Analyzing individual observations to come to general conclusions. Proceeding from facts to the "big picture." Inferential Strategy Like DR-TA but occurs only before and after reading.
Inferencing Chart
Inferencing Map
A thinking skill, demonstrated when a student can make conclusions based on reading or prior knowledge.
Informal Knowledge
Information Processing Model
Information Processing theorists study learning in terms of how memories are acquired and then later accessed. Key theorists in this field include Robert M. Gagne and George A. Miller.
Information Processing Theory (G. Miller)
Gagne's Nine Events of Instruction: An Introduction
Information Transfer
Altering text or work in such a way that the original is still recognizable, but new concepts or contexts are introduced.
Input Chart
A system in which students solve problems or answer questions by forming tentative answers (hypotheses), then collecting and analyzing data to provide evidence for or against their hypotheses.
Inquiry Chart
Inside-Outside Circle
Review technique. Inside and outside circles of students face each other. Within each pair of facing students, students quiz each other with questions they have written. Outside circle moves to create new pairs. Repeat.
Instant Messenger (IM)
Integrative Learning Model
A holistic approach that works to strengthen all aspects of a student's life (academic, physical, personal, and emotional).
Interactive Student Notebook
Interactive Video
Any of several systems that allow a user to interact with a video by making choices between video segments. Delivery modes can include: CD-ROM, DVD, or a computer linked to a VHS tape system.
Interactive Writing
Collaboration between the teacher and the student, with both writing parts of the final composition.
Interdiscipinary Curriculum
Interdisciplinary Teaching
Traditional elementary and secondary classrooms divide instruction into categories (disciplines) such as "reading," "math," and "social studies." Interdisciplinary teaching involves any effort on the part of an instructor to design learning activities with products and activities to related to more than one discipline.
What is Interdisciplinary/Cross-Curricular Teaching?
Interest Talk
Interpolation of Data
Given a set of data, students are asked to calculate an expected value that occurs between two given data points.
Interviews may be by the student or may be a form of assessment of the student.
Students' valuing of reading is expressed by students responses to opinion questions and their predictions of classmates' opinions on a "game sheet."
Invented Spelling
Invented spelling is a natural product that occurs as children begin learning to write. Children attempt to use the sounds of the letters they know to write words whose spelling they do not know. How the teacher responds to the invented spelling differs in different types of classrooms. In more holistic approaches to literacy, students are encouraged to experiment and the invented spelling may or not be corrected depending on the purpose of the writing. During the first few years of school, children gradually replace their invented spellings with those acquired through formal instruction.
Invented Spelling
An open-ended problem-solving task. Is the process of creating something to fill a need.
Invention Teaching
A constructivist approach. Students begin learning with an activity (as in Discovery Teaching), but students may generate many possible solutions. Students acquire basic and advanced knowledge in random order.
Inventory Questioning
Inventory questions are designed to collect information about students' interests, to activate prior knowledge, or to help students become aware of their existing beliefs and background. Often used when dealing with controversial issues, or in the form of a "personal inventory" to explore emotional problems or limitations.
Inverted Pyramid
A writing format in which the most important information is presented first, followed by the next most important information, and closing with the least important information. Most commonly used in news reporting, but useful in teaching students to learn to prioritize information. Also called the Journalism Model.
Inverted pyramid story format
Identifying what is known about a topic. Three basic types are: Definitional (What are...?), Historical (How...? or Why...?), and Projective (What if...?).
IWWMW (In What Ways Might We)
I W W M W - - - (In What Ways Might We----) (PDF)
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Like the television game. Many variations (individual or team competitions). Board with "answers" is prepared in advance (for overhead or on large cardboard sheet). Students respond with acceptable "question."
Cooperative activity. The basic steps include: reading, meeting with expert groups, report back to main team, demonstrate knowledge through a test or report.
Jigsaw II
Cooperative activity. Basic steps: Read with group, discuss individual topic with expert groups, report back to team (to teach them what you learned in your expert group), test, team recognition.
When working with high school students or adults, making connections between classroom learning and the students' out of class jobs helps students understand the value of what they are learning.
Amusing story or description that can be told by the teacher to activate interest. Alternatively, students can create topic-related jokes to demonstrate understanding of concepts.
A form of writing. Typically done for a few minutes each day. The writing is done in a notebook and is often used to encourage reflection or exploration of ideas of interest to the students. Journal writing is typically not graded, and in some instances, is not read by anyone but the student. In other instances, the journal can be used to establish an ongoing written dialog between the student and the teacher.
Journals in the Classroom
Journalism Model
A writing format in which the most important information is presented first, followed by the next most important information, and closing with the least important information. Most commonly used in news reporting, but useful in teaching students to learn to prioritize information. Also called the Inverted Pyramid.
A form of critical thinking that involves forming opinions about a topic.
Jumbled Summary
Teacher presents randomly ordered key words and phrases from a lesson to students. Students put the terms and phrases in a logical order to show understanding.
To explain why one choice is better than another. Typically used as part of an assessment that asks students to "justify" or explain the merits of their answers.
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Key Word
Asking student to find keywords, or supplying keywords to students
Keyhole Strategy
A writing format in which the author begins with the main idea, narrows the idea until the end of the first paragraph, uses the "body" of the writing consists of well-rounded paragraphs, then in the last paragraph, builds to a broad conclusion. Diagrammed, the format looks like an old-fashioned keyhole.
In classes where students are allowed to check their own homework, teachers can provide a notebook containing detailed answer keys demonstrating how to do complex problems or examples of desirable answers. Sometimes used in Independent Reading Programs or Mastery Learning to allow students to learn at their own pace. The "Answer Key" books are usually kept on the teacher's desk or a table nearby to ensure that students try problems on their own and only check their answers under supervision.
Keyword Memory Method
In the keyword method, students generate keywords that are similar to the concepts to be memorized, then put the keywords into an arrangement that can be mentally "pictured." For example, given the task of memorizing "St. Paul is the capital of Minnesota," the student would first break up the phrase into five related words: saint paul cap mini soda." Finally the student would image their favorite "Paul" with a halo as a cap and drinking a very small soda.
Keywords: A Memorization Strategy (PDF)
Keyword Strategy
The use of keyword memory methods to build vocabulary
KJ Method
Creativity or problem-solving technique in which ideas are written on cards, then the cards are grouped, and finally the grouped ideas are classified.
Knowledge Grammy Awards
Near the completion of a unit, students nominate and vote on which knowledge was most useful to them.
Knowledge Rating
Before reading, students skim reading and select words from the reading, then rate their familiarity with the words. In some instances, teachers may give students preselected words to rate.
Knowledge Rating Sheet
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners beginning with known concepts and proceeding to unknown concepts.. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, Whole-to-Part
"Know, Want to know, How to find out, Learn"
"Know, Want to know, Learn" Students identify what they know about a topic, what they want to know,and after reading or instruction, identify what they learned or would still like to learn.
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Lab Practical
A form of classification that includes categorizing and then naming a concept, object, action, or event.
Classroom activities performed in an environment that fosters inquiry through experimentation and exploration. Laboratories typically have specialized equipment to permit students to perform experiments in biology, chemistry, physics, meteorology, geology, and occasionally psychology.
Changing a discussion to consider categories that are either more inclusive or less inclusive than the level of the current topic. For example, in a science class, the group might "ladder up" if they switch from discussing primates to a discussion of all mammals. The group would be "laddering down" if the switched from discussing primates in general to a discussion of gorillas. Laddering up tends to result in more abstract discussions while laddering down to the lowest levels results in more concrete discussions.
Language Experience Approach
LARC (Left and Right Creativity)
Use drawing to stimulate right brain, then harness to left brain to creatively solve problems.
Lateral Thinking
Edward de Bono's approach to problem-solving and creativity. Lateral thinking consists of changing your perspective to solve a problem (for example, if baby endangers Christmas tree, instead of putting baby in playpen, put tree in playpen). Don't limit yourself by only considering "intended uses."
Lateral Thinking (DeBono)
Learner Analysis
Learner Profiling
Learning by Association
Learning Centers
Individual stations where individual or paired students explore resources. Designed to extend knowledge introduced in whole group instruction.
Learning Contract
A form of individualized, active learning, in which the student proposes a course of study to satisfy an academic requirement and a teacher checks and approves the contract. The student typically works independently until assistance is needed from the teacher, at which point it is the responsibility of the student to ask for help. This form of instruction is becoming more common in universities and in distance learning. A second variety of learning contract is sometimes undertaken with elementary or secondary students in which the teacher takes a more active role and the function of the contract is to focus the student's attention on specific skills or concepts to be learned.
Learning Contract Maker
Learning in Context
Learning Labs
A learning lab is an environment that provides tools and educational support to enable learners to explore content at their own pace. There are many varieties of learning labs. Computer learning labs typically consist of rooms full of networked computers or work stations along with at least one human assistant. Math learning labs may be nothing but an empty classroom with a few reference books and one or more math tutors who roam the room to assist learners as they work. Language learning labs typically provide audio playing and recording equipment to allow learners to listen to the language they are learning.
Learning Log
Students write responses to teacher questions as summary of what they have learned or what they do not understand. Used for reflection and to inform teacher of progress.
Learning Modules
Like a portable learning center. Many are designed to be used as the primary instruction on a subject and aren't preceded by whole class instruction.
Learning Packets
Designed by a teacher to help student make up missed work due to absence.
Learning Posts
Learning Stations
Individual stations where individual or paired students explore resources. Designed to extend knowledge introduced in whole group instruction.
Learning Style Inventory
Assessments taken by students to learn about their learning styles and preferences.
Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire
Keirsey Temperament Sorter
Learning Styles
While each of us learns differently, we can categorize an individual's strength and weaknesses for a number of different factors which affect the way we learn. It is possible to refer to someone as a "visual learner" or a person who prefers "step-by-step" directions. By assessing, and then planning for each student's individual learning style, a teacher can improve the chances that each student will learn.
Keirsey Temperament Sorter II - Online Personality Test
Learning Together
Learning Together, developed by David and Roger Johnson, is a set of step-by-step instructions to assist teachers in managing a cooperative classroom. Superseded by 'Circles of Learning."
Learning Together and Alone
Cooperative learning approach, as outlined by David W. Johnson and Roger T. Johnson. Unlike other cooperative learning strategies which tend to be periodic activities, "Learning Together and Alone" provides guidelines for the creation of a generalized cooperative classroom.
A direct instructional method. The teacher talks with the purpose of transmitting information. Lectures may, but often don't, include visual aids or notes to accompany the talking.
Left and Right Creativity (LARC)
Use drawing to stimulate right brain, then harness to left brain to creatively solve problems.
Less is More
Letter Activities
Activities designed to help young children make connections between the appearance of letters and their sounds. Usually includes a tactile or kinesthetic component (making a snake out of clay and forming it into the letter "S" for example).
Letter and Sound Relationships
Letter activities that concentrate on pairing letters and letter combinations that result in the same sound.
Letter Games
Letter activities to which an element of competition or fun has been added.
Letter games
Letter Writing
A writing activity that encourages students to think about a specific audience.
Letters From Last Year's Class
At the end of the school year, have students write letters for your future students. These letters can include tips, activities to look forward to, or a description of some of the new concepts they can look forward to learning in the coming year. At the beginning of the next school year, put these letters on the desks of your new students.
Letters From Last Year's Class
Leveled Books
Sets of books of varying difficulty. Typically students will be matched with books in the set based on each student's ongoing assessments and previous achievements with other books that are "leveled."
Leveled Books Database
Library Assistant
Acting as an assistant in the library not only provides students with an opportunity for Service Learning, but also teaches academic skills related to reading, categorization, use of computers, and social skills as student volunteers interact with library users.
Library Research
Many projects require research in the library to enable students to supplement the information they can find in their textbooks and on the Internet. To further encourage library research, teachers can provide guidelines for projects and writing assignments to encourage students to become familiar with using resources in the library.
Seven Steps to Effective Library Research
Guidelines for Effective Library Research
Life Chart
Line Graph
Student teams are given concepts that can be put in order. Each team member holds one concept and the members line up to represent the correct order.
LINK (List, Inquire, Note, Know)
An activity to help students activate prior knowledge before beginning a new topic.
Link System of Memorization
Link one item to another to form a mental link. Uses visualization.
List - Group - Label
An activity to help students activate prior knowledge before beginning a new topic. Student teams divide list of key words into groups, then label each group.
List, Inquire, Note, Know (LINK)
An activity to help students activate prior knowledge before beginning a new topic.
Students listen to questions, individually think about a response, discuss their ideas with a partner, then share their ideas with the class.
Listening Center
Audio center where students can listen individually to books on tape, music, news, language lessons, taped stories, or other audio resources.
Listening Comprehension
Activities to promote active and critical listening. Activities often include reading passages aloud, then assessing student understanding through written or oral feedback.
Making lists of words, objects or ideas. Can be used to organize thoughts before a writing activity, or as an assessments to demonstrate the ability to recall.
Literature Circles
Literature Search
As a part of inquiry or research, students often need to search existing literature to find what is currently known about a topic. Libraries have specialized search tools students can use for a variety of topics. Internet searches typically use a combination of keyword searches on the Internet along with following a trail of references from known articles to find related work by known authors.
How to conduct a literature search
Live Plants and Animals
Providing live plants and animals in the classroom gives students the opportunity to learn respect for living things. Caring for living things enables students to learn responsibility. Careful observation and handling of living things in the classroom enhances the learning of many concepts.
Living Art
Locating is to show or find the position of something. Students can find the location of places on a map, or demonstrate the location of a concept relative to other concepts in a hierarchy.
Long-term Projects
These projects are usually centered either on a theme, or to research and propose answers to open-ended questions.
Longitudinal Study
Looping describes an approach to writing and also describes the practice having a teacher teach the same class for more than one year. As an approach to writing looping encourages writers to write quickly (stream of consciousness), followed by reviewing what has been written and selecting key points from the writing to serve as the basis for another round of quick, but more focused writing. The student continues looping until the product of the writing meets the original specifications.
Lotus Blossom Technique
From central idea, propose eight new ideas. For each of eight ideas, propose and evaluate necessary details to implement ideas.
Luck of the Draw
All student's names are put into a container. At the end of class, a student's name is drawn at random from the container. At the beginning of the next class the student whose name was drawn is required to present a 3-5 minute review of the previous day's lesson.
Lunch with the Teacher
A good way for the teacher to get to know each student in a casual environment. Individual students or pairs of students eat lunch and socialize with the teacher. For young children, this experience is often enhanced if the teacher brings some small treat (a few cookies) to to share
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M-Learning (Mobile Learning)
Used as a real world source of information.
Magic Square
Making Words
Having students manage an activity or group to give students experience with management and planning skills.
Manipulatives are objects used in the classroom to allow students to make connections to concepts through touch. Examples might include a bag of beans for counting, or a microscope for scientific inquiry.
How to Make the Most of Math Manipulatives
Map Making
Student map making can be tied to many objectives related to mathematics, social studies, art, reading, and problem solving.
Map Making/Floor Plans/Map Reading - Lesson Plans
Treasure Hunt
Map Reading
As a classroom activity, older students can be given maps and asked to find places or resources. Younger students can be given maps to local places and taught to orient themselves using the maps (orienteering).
Mark It Up
Creation or selection of a class mascot to promote a group identity.
Mastery Grading
Mastery Learning
Objectives for learning are established and communicated to students. Students progress at own speed and continue to work until their performance indicates they have mastered each set of objectives. (see criterion-referenced assessment)
Mastery Learning - Huitt
Match Mine
Pair activity in which one student draws, while the other waits, then the second student tries to copy the drawing of the first using only descriptions supplied by the first student.
Making matches can be done in many contexts. For younger students, cards can be matched if they have identical pictures or symbols. As they advance, cards with symbols or pictures can be matched with the real objects they represent. More mature students can match words with their definitions or mathematical expressions with their solutions.
Matrix Sampling
Meal Planning
Lessons in which students plan meals can be used to teach skills in math, science, social studies, reading, and writing.
Nutrition on the Net -- Healthful Activities for Every Grade!
Meaningful Sentences
Given vocabulary terms, students can be shown sentences in which the terms are used in a context that helps them to understand the meaning of the terms, or as an assessment, students can be asked to write meaningful sentences containing key words.
Meaningful Use Tasks
A category of tasks described by Robert J. Marzano, Typically they are long-term, allow students to make choices, and require students to apply what they have learned.
Activities to determine the size, extent, or dimensions of objects or values.
A Tour of Measurement
Medium Size Circle
First, 5-10 volunteers share something important they learned. Second, volunteers remember (restate) what one first people shared. Continue until each of the original speakers have been "remembered."
Actively organizing and working with concepts or terminology to improve incorporating those concepts into memory.
Mental Arithmetic Techniques
Techniques to allow students to approximate answers to math problems. Mental math or mental arithmetic is important to allow students to be able to recognize when the answers they obtain using calculators are accurate.
BEATCALC: Beat the Calculator!
Mental Models
Students enter learning situations with existing knowledge. This knowledge is organized into patterns or models that help them explain phenomena. Learning involves adding to or altering the learner's existing mental models.
Teachers and individuals from the community can act as mentors.
A Guide to the Mentor Program Listings (Canada and US Programs)
Message Board
A place where teachers and students can post information or work that may be of interest to others in the classroom.
Message in a Bottle
Metacognition is "thinking about thinking." Learners monitor their own thought processes to decide if they are learning effectively. Taking a learning styles inventory, then altering study habits to fit what was learned about preferences would be an example of a metacognitive activity.
Metaphors can be used as examples by teachers, or students can form metaphors.
A form of practice teaching in which the student prepares a short (6-15 minute) lesson and presents the lesson to peers for constructive evaluation.
Millionaire Game
Mind Map
A graphic way of organizing information to show the interrelationships between concepts.
Mind Mapping
John M. Carroll's approach to instructional design that stresses the importance of providing learners with meaningful tasks early in instruction and allowing them to make and then correct errors. Rather than guiding users step-by-step through a new learning situation, learner's are given tasks to try and then supported as they make mistakes. This approach is often used in the design of instruction for users of computer systems and software.
Minute Papers
An end-of-class reflection in which students write briefly to answer the questions: "What did you learn today? and "What questions do you still have?"
One Minute Papers
Missing Words
Mix and Match
Students make pairs or sets from randomly ordered objects or concepts on cards.
In this activity, the teacher poses questions to which the answer is a whole number and the students (as a group) answer the question by moving through the classroom to form groups of that size. For example, if the question were, "How much is 24 divided by 8?" the students would cluster to form groups of 3.
Mix, Match, Freeze
Any of several techniques or devices used to help remember or memorize names or concepts.
Mobile Learning (M-Learning)
Mock Trials
Students learn about the legal system by assuming the roles of lawyers, witnesses, and judges to act out hypothetical legal cases.
Mock Trial Society - Home page
Teachers model behaviors or skills.
Many forms of models are used in the classroom. In the concrete sense, teachers can provide three-dimensional objects (such as globes or models of molecules) for students to explore. Models can also be conceptual. The idea that the Earth revolves around the sun is part of a model of the the structure of the solar system.
Useful in the classroom as a scaffolding tool. Provide students with models or information that are nearly correct or complete and allow students to modify the model or information to make it more complete.
Student monitors as a mechanism to teach responsibility.
Morning Message
Morphological Analysis
Analysis of the meaning of words based on their sub-parts (morphemes).
Morphological Analysis
Most Important Word
A during reading strategy in which the teacher reminds the students to think about the "most important words" for a particular reading assignment. The teacher gives some examples of some important words, then students work in groups to identify others.
Muddiest Point
A question used to stimulate metacognitive thinking. Students are asked to name or describe the concept they understand the least (their muddiest point).
The Muddiest Point (used in e-mail)
Multi-age Groupings
A classroom that includes children of many ages and ability levels.
Information for Parents About Nongraded (Multi-Age) Elementary School
Multicultural Education Programs
Programs that focus on teaching children about other cultures, or adapting teaching to fit the cultures of the children being taught.
Cultural Background - NCREL
Teaching Tolerance
Typically refers to the presentation of information using a computer and including text-based, audio, and visual components.
Multiple Cause with Effect
Multiple Cause with Multiple Effects
Multiple Intelligences Theory
Howard Gardner's theory proposing that each person has many intelligences (including linguistic, spatial, musical, etc.). These intelligences work together. Educators should design instruction to foster the growth of all intelligences.
Multiple Intelligences - Armstrong
Multiple Solutions
Require students to find all acceptable solutions, not just the best.
Songs for Teaching
My Name
Ice breaker activity in which students stand and explain what they know about the origin of their name. It could be to explain why they were given their particular first or middle names, or it could be to describe a little about the history of their family name.
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Learning student names early is an effective way to minimize the potential for misbehavior and establish positive relationships with students.
The Name Game
A thinking skill requiring the learner to identify objects or concepts by name. One specific form of naming (Rapid Automatized Naming) is used as an assessment of learners' ability to acquire literacy skills.
Nature Walks
A form of field trip in which students explore and observe objects in their natural environment.
Nature Study - (Charlotte Mason's Cure for Tired Text-taught Tots)
Negative Brainstorming
Like brainstorming, but participants propose things NOT to do or ideas that are NOT examples. Especially useful with young children in starting a list of student-generated rules. First have students generate actions not to do, then ask students to rephrase the ideas in a more positive way.
Negative Brainstorming
New Math
Newscasts written and produced by students. Newscasts can either be about current happenings, or be used to explore historical events.
Ask students to make suggestions or write parts of the class newsletter to be sent home tom parents.
Classroom Newsletters
Newspaper Assignment for Cooperative Learning
Groups make their own newspapers following guidelines from the teacher.
Newspapers as a real world source of content, or as a product produced by students.
Using Newspapers in the Classroom
NEWSPAPERS IN EDUCATION - A sampling of ideas for using newspapers in your classroom
No Hesitation
Nominal Group Technique
A formal structure to facilitate group problem-solving in a way that encourages all members to participate.
Nominal Group Technique (NGT)
A technique used in direct instruction to help students distinguish between similar concepts.
Nondirective Model
A student-centered teaching model.
Nonlinguistic Representations
Norm-referenced Assessments
Students are compared to each other. The students with the best performance (on tests, presentations, etc.) receive the highest marks. Grades will be distributed over a range (typically A through F) and not all students can receive the highest marks. (compare to criterion-referenced assessment)
The process of recording information presented by a teacher for the purpose of improving recall or understanding by the student. Notes typically include a combination of direct quotes of what a teacher says, diagrams, and additions by the student to add emphasis or to indicate areas where outside study may be required.
Note-taking Systems
Note-Taking Strategies
A motivational technique to engage student early in instruction. Share something unusual with students to arouse curiosity.
Novel Study Packet
Numbered Heads Together
Each student is assigned a number. Members of group work together to agree on answer. Teacher randomly selects one number. Student with that number answers for group.
A form of summary. It usually involves asking a student to examine synthesize a brief statement that captures the essence of all that has been written or stated to that point. Often used in writing classes to help students find the key points in their own writing.
Nutshelling: Shrinking and then Growing Anew
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Share objectives with students to allow them to help plan learning activities to help them reach the objectives.
Observation of student by teacher. Observations may be used during performance assessments, or simply to gather informal information about an individual student's needs and achievements.
Observation Logs
An observation log is a form of journal kept by a student to assist in guiding observation. Students typically are asked to answer specific questions during the course of keeping an observation log. This technique is often employed in teacher education to guide students during their observation of classroom teachers.
Using an Observation Log to enhance studies in biology
Observational Learning
Albert Bandura's learning theory stating that much human learning occurs through our observation of the behavior of others. This theory is now often called "social learning" model or theory.
Observations made by students.
Observe a Leaf - Lesson Plan
Odd One Out
Olympiads are formally regulated contests to stimulate interest and enthusiasm for a particular topic.
International Science (and Math) Olympiads
International Geographic Olympiad
One Sentence Summary
Students are asked to write a single summary sentence that answers the "who, what, where, when, why, how" questions about the topic.
One Word Summary
Select (or invent) one word which best summarizes a topic . Write 2-3 sentences justifying the selection of the summary word.
One-way Presentation
One-way presentation describes any format in which the learner is passive and information is presented to the learner. One-way presentation modes include video, lecture, and demonstrations.
Online Assessments
Online Games
Online Lessons
Open Discussion
Open discussion is the least structured form of discussion. The teacher sets the boundaries by describing the general topic for the discussion, but the direction of the discussion follows student interests within that topic.
Open Text Recitation
A form of recitation in which students can use their books, notes, or other texts to support their answers.
Open-Ended Assessments
Open-ended Question
Open-ended Task
Open-Response Task
Operant Conditioning
B. F. Skinner's elaboration of basic behaviorist beliefs. Skinner believed that individual's learned when their responses to stimuli were reinforced.
Operant Conditioning
Opinion Sampling
Opinion sampling can be used either as an assignment for students. Teachers may also collect student opinions for the purpose of altering classroom structure.
OPV (Other People's Views)
Edward de Bono's strategy for examining the perspectives of others.
Other People's Viewpoints
Oral Examination
Oral Presentation
Oral presentations are a form of direct instruction. Lectures are the most common form of oral presentation in the classroom. Other forms of oral presentation include talks given to describe a project or research findings.
Oral Presentation Advice
Oral Reading
Oral reading of existing texts can be used to scaffold learning of vocabulary, pronunciation, and connections to related topics. During the writing process, oral reading becomes a proofreading strategy.
Putting objects, concepts, or numbers in order.
Organic Model
An educational reform movement in which teachers collaborate to govern school policies and practices rather then following standardized guidelines handed down from distant policy makers.
Organizing can include many different forms of interaction with objects and concepts. Organizing may include classifying, ordering, ranking, and comparing.
Other People's Views (OPV)
Edward de Bono's strategy for examining the perspectives of others.
Other People's Viewpoints
Outcome Sentences
Outcome-Based Education
Outcome-based Learning
A school reform structure that typically requires students to pass specific exit exams or pass exit performances by the time they finish the program. Instruction is adapted to guarantee 100% of the students can meet these exit requirements.
An outline is a skeletal version of some larger presentation or writing. Outlines usually include phrases or sentences that are critical to the topic and are arranged in the same order that the concepts will be (or were) presented in the final version. Outlines may be used to guide the creation process in writing or planning, during a lecture to help students follow the concepts being presented, or by students in their note-taking or studying.
Outside Experts
Outside experts can be used as guest speakers, volunteer to assist during projects, or as evaluators of student work.
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P-I-E (Point, Illustrations, Explanation)
A writing strategy to remind students about the key parts of a paragraph. As a cue, you can ask them if their paragraph has all the pieces of the P-I-E (Point-Illustrations-Explanation).
Paideia Approach
A school model in which all students follow the same rigorous program designed to provide a deep, liberal education. Traditional grading is discouraged and there is an emphasis on classical texts and Socratic methods.
Paideia - Philosophy and Method
While typically restricted to elementary classes or to art classes at the higher levels, painting can be used in a wide variety of classes to encourage creative thinking and problem-solving. At all levels, planning and executing a painting involves the integration of many skills and promotes the development of higher order thinking.
Pair Problem Solving
A problem-solving technique in which one member of the pair is the "thinker" who thinks aloud as they try to solve the problem, and the other member is the "listener" who analyzes and provides feedback on the "thinker's" approach.
Pair Project
Pair projects take two basic forms. In the commonest form, two students work together to accomplish some task. The task may be to produce a tangible object (like a poster or model) or may be to make a presentation to the class. The more global form of pair project is for classes in different parts of the world to collaborate on a project. The students perform similar activities in both locations then compare results.
Pair Review
Paired Annotations
Paired Annotations
Paired Comparisons
A structured method for comparing many objects or ideas that involves creating a matrix, comparing each pair individually, then using the paired comparisons to generate a ranked list.
Paired Comparison
Paired Verbal Fluency
A form of brainstorming. Used to "warm- up" students before a whole class discussion. Student 1 in pair remembers while student 2 listens. Roles switch. Repeat twice.
Pairs Check
Pairs work together and check each other's work.
Pairs Worksheet
Panel of Experts
PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies)
A structured reading strategy in which pairs of students use "Paragraph Shrinking," "Partner Reading," and "Prediction Relays."
PALS- Peer Assisted Learning Strategies
In a panel discussion, a small group acts as experts to answer the questions of the people in the larger group. In a classroom setting, students are selected to become experts on a topic and are given at least a day to prepare for the discussion. Panel discussions can also be held using outside experts.
The expression of ideas using only movement and gestures. One form of pantomime commonly used in the classroom is the narrative pantomime. In narrative pantomime, the leader (usually the teacher) reads a passage of text and the others in the groups act out the passage to demonstrate the ideas using their movements.
Paper Pass
Paradoxes are statements, or sets of statements, that appear to be contradictory. Using paradoxes in the classroom can encourage problem-solving, critical thinking, and logical thinking skills.
Paragraph Hamburger
Paragraph Hamburger
Paragraph Shrinking
Partners read in pairs. For the first paragraph, one reads and the other summarizes by stating the main idea of that paragraph. The partners then switch roles for the second paragraph.
Paragraph Writing Strategy
There are many different formal strategies to help students compose paragraphs. The one thing these strategies all share is that they are similar to strategies for writing larger compositions, but are sometimes more explicit about the number of ideas to use in constructing a single paragraph.
Paraphrasing involves careful reading, then rewriting the ideas of the author in your own words. Learning to paraphrase is critical to understanding how to do research from texts, then properly cite those texts without plagiarizing.
Parents can assist in learning in an infinite number of ways. By keeping parents informed about the progress of their child and how they can help, parents can be involved both inside and outside the classroom. Just a few of the roles for parents include: coaching, tutoring, chaperoning, classroom assistant, and providing physical and emotional help during those times when a single person (the teacher) can't do everything.
Including Families in Programs for Young Children
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners repeatedly, but each time parts of the curriculum are presented deeper concepts are explored.. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, Whole-to-Part
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners beginning with parts of the curriculum, then relationships between the parts are presented, and finally learners can incorporate the parts as a whole.. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, Whole-to-Part
An instructional approach (often used in reading) in which objectives are presented to learners in chronological order. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, Whole-to-Part
Partner Discussion
Any discussion involving exactly two people. This is a flexible strategy that allows the maximum number of students to verbally express their ideas at the same time. Typically, partner discussions are prompted by a single question, but longer partner discussions can occur if the partners are assigned a larger project.
Partner Reading
Pairs of students read together and the listener corrects the active reader. One special form of partner reading is called "Reading Buddies." Reading buddies are pairs whose members are several years apart.
Pattern Forming
The ability to recognize and create patterns is central to many different fields. The use of lessons with "pattern forming" activities is typically started in pre-schools and continues into higher education.
Bear Mini-Unit, Lesson 4: Patterning with Bears
PBL (Problem-Based Learning)
Inductive teaching method. No direct instruction. Teacher poses authentic (real-world) problem. Students learn particular content and skills as they work cooperatively to solve the problem.
Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS)
A structured reading strategy in which pairs of students use "Paragraph Shrinking," "Partner Reading," and "Prediction Relays."
PALS- Peer Assisted Learning Strategies
Peer Editing
Students read and give feedback on the work of their peers. Peer editing is not only useful as a tool to improve students' analytical skills, but also provides students with an alternative audience for their work.
Peer Editing
Peer Evaluation
Students evaluate presentations or work of fellow students.
Peer Questioning
Students ask questions of each other. Often occurs during student presentations.
Guided Reciprocal Peer Questioning
Peer Teaching
Peer Tutoring
Includes a wide variety of approaches in which instruction is delivered by a person close in age or achievement to the person receiving instruction.
Peg Word System of Memorization
Uses visualization to remember words associated with particular numbers.
A long term arrangement to exchange letters with another individual. Used in classrooms to improve literacy, encourage exploration of ideas from other cultures, and sometimes to learn new languages.
KeyPals Club International
Performance Assessments
Performance assessments involve the comparison of a learner's behavior to an established guideline or rubric. The guidelines can be a single condition - or complicated multi-page rubrics with carefully described levels of performance for each action or behavior.
Performance Assessment - NCREL
Performance of Skills
Skills might include touch typing, use of scientific equipment, drawing, etc.
Students might be asked to analyze perspectives, or take another perspective.
Phenomena maps
A structure to help students understand events and their interactions.
Phillips 66
Divide students into groups of six and give them six minutes to perform some task. Tasks may range from simple discussion to the solving of complex problems.
Phonemic Awareness
Most young children perceive words as whole, indivisible entities. As children develop, they acquire the understanding that words are made up of smaller units called syllables, and eventually that syllables are composed of even smaller units called phonemes. Once children are aware of the nature of words and phonemes and how to break words apart into those corresponding sounds, they are usually ready to learn to read. Until they have reached this step, it is difficult for children to make the connection between the written letters of the alphabet and spoken sounds.
Phonemic Awareness: An Important Early Step in Learning To Read
Reading and writing instruction that formally associates sounds with letters of the alphabet. Beginning readers are urged to "sound out" a word by saying the sound of each letter in an unfamiliar word, then blending individual sounds to deduce the written word.
Photographed Vocabulary
Picture Dictionaries
Picture Mapping
Picture Walk
Pictorial Autobiography
Students create collages representing their interests, background, or culture. Students can either share them and explain them to the class, or post them anonymously to allow students to try to guess which collage belongs to which student.
Picture Mapping
A form of graphic organizer similar to story mapping. Instead of diagraming using keywords, however, the concepts are illustrated with pictures.
Picture Word Inductive Model (PWIM)
Inductive, inquiry-based vocabulary-building strategy that presents new words in conjunction with photographs.
Ping-Pong with Lists
A writing strategy by Edwin S. Ellis consisting of the following components: Preview audience, goals, & words. List main ideas & details. Assign numbers to indicate order. Note ideas in complete sentences.
PLAN (Predict/Locate/Add/Note)
A reading/study skills strategy.
PLAN - Predict/Locate/Add/Note
Activities in which students plan some or all of the activity encourage engagement by students and help to develop metacognitive skills. Planning a hypothetical activity (like a trip to Jupiter) helps students make connections between theoretical concepts and their daily lives.
Planning and performing plays in the classroom can improve reading and performance skills and help to motivate learners who benefit from social interactions and the hands-on aspects of drama.
All the Classroom's a Stage!
Plus, Minus, Interesting (PMI)
A decision-making strategy devised by Edward de Bono. Students silently list positive, negative, and other aspects of a problem or solution. Aspects are shared as a group list. All alternatives are considered before decision is made.
PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting)
A decision-making strategy devised by Edward de Bono. Students silently list positive, negative, and other aspects of a problem or solution. Aspects are shared as a group list. All alternatives are considered before decision is made.
Poetry Writing
Because poetry encourages students to express ideas in imaginative, highly connected ways, writing poetry can be used in many kinds of classrooms.
April Is Poetry Month!
Online Poetry Classroom
Poetry for the Elementary Classroom
Point Counterpoint
Presentations of arguments for, then against a particular proposal. Point-Counterpoint formats would encompass essays written by a single person, all the way up to full class debates with teams taking varying opposing viewpoints. This approach is often used in the exploration of controversial topics.
Point Counterpoint--A Method for Teaching Critical Thinking
Point, Illustrations, Explanation (P-I-E)
A writing strategy to remind students about the key parts of a paragraph. As a cue, you can ask them if their paragraph has all the pieces of the P-I-E (Point-Illustrations-Explanation).
Pop Quiz
Assessment given without notice. Usually written, and used to motivate students to study each day.
PORPE (Predict, Organize, Rehearse, Practice, and Evaluate)
A strategy to help students prepare for exams by having them predict the questions on the exam.
Portfolios are carefully selected samples of student work accompanied by formal criteria to allow the reader to judge the materials in the portfolio.. Portfolios typically include work selected by the student to show their best work, some pieces to show progress, and other work that reflects on what was learned and what remains to be learned.
Portfolios - NCREL
Position Paper
A form of writing in which students take a position, then use information from one or more written materials to support that position.
Position Papers for Psychology 3VV3
Positive Profile
Students analyze characters from reading by completing a personality evaluation form that includes positive characteristics such as "hobbies," "strengths," and "smartest action performed."
Possible Sentences
A pre-reading strategy in which students are presented with vocabulary words from the reading. Students choose pairs of vocabulary words and use these two words to write sentences that may appear in the reading. After the reading students evaluate the correctness of their sentences, and sometimes correct them.
Possible Sentences
Possible Sentences
Student-created posters can be used at any stage of instruction. During early exposure to concepts, students can create "mini-posters" providing an visual overview of what they already know of a topic. Later in instruction, assigning a poster format encourages students to organize and prioritize materials. Group posters encourage negotiating and team skills as students debate how best to illustrate concepts. Posters can also be combined with other forms such as oral presentations and visually enhanced essays. Commercially made posters are useful as quick reference and to augment lectures or discussions.
Power Thinking
In learning cognitive skills, repeated exposure to concepts through practice increases the probability the student will remember the concept. In learning physical skills, practice not only teaches basic skills but also conditions the body to be better able to perform the motions associated with those skills.
Distributed Practice: The Research Base (PDF)
Verbal or written expressions of approval used by teachers to motivate students. While praise has historically been viewed as an effective means to reinforce learning, recent research indicates positive effects are seen only with certain types of praise and when used with certain types of students.
The Power of Written Praise
Precis Writing
A form of abstraction or summary.
Precision Teaching
A method of planning and delivering instruction based on a student's own measurement of their frequency in performing (or not performing) certain observable actions.
Precision Teaching: Concept Definition and Guiding Principles
Predict / Check / Connect
A reading strategy by Edwin S. Ellis encouraging predictions based on the beginning of a text.
Predict, Organize, Rehearse, Practice, and Evaluate (PORPE)
A strategy to help students prepare for exams by having them predict the questions on the exam.
Predict/Locate/Add/Note (PLAN)
A reading/study skills strategy.
PLAN - Predict/Locate/Add/Note
Predictable Books
The use of books with predictable plot elements or other uses of repetition and pattern to enhance student engagement and encourage students to make predictions.
Predictable Books
Prediction Pairs
Students are paired as they listen to the teacher read a passage aloud. At each pause in the reading, the teacher prompts students to discuss with their partner what they predict will happen next in the reading.
Prediction Relay
Extension of Paragraph Shrinking which partners are asked to think ahead.
Students make predictions to indicate extended understanding of concepts.
Preinstructional Activities
PReP (Prereading Plan)
Brainstorming to activate students' existing knowledge before reading.
Creativity activity: list of prepositions (above, in, because, opposite) is interposed between two lists of words, then try to make sense of the combinations. Used to generate novel solutions to problems.
Prepcreation (PDF)
Preposition Creation
Prereading Plan (PReP)
Brainstorming to activate students' existing knowledge before reading.
Prescriptive Learning
Previewing the Text
Prewriting Activities
Primary Language Group
Primary Sources
Prior Knowledge
Problem Reversal
Solve problems by reversing problem and determining what not to do.
Problem Reversal
Problem Vignettes
Problem-Based Learning (PBL)
Inductive teaching method. No direct instruction. Teacher poses authentic (real-world) problem. Students learn particular content and skills as they work cooperatively to solve the problem.
A Meaningful Use Task which centers on overcoming constraints or limiting conditions.
Polya's "How to Solve It"
Problem-Solving Groups
Students can interact with problems in many ways. Students may be asked to create or construct problems, they may be asked to set up how to solve problems (without actually completing the calculations necessary to solve them), and finally they may be asked to solve problems.
Process of Elimination
Process Writing
Students write following a model specified by the instructor. Emphasis shifts from the nature of the final product, to the process used to create the final product.
PROP Advance Organizer
A structured format to give students an overview of what to expect from upcoming instruction. Using a completed form, the teacher describes for students: Prior knowledge, Relationships, Organization, Plan
PROP advance organizer - example (PDF)
Proposal Writing
Pros and Cons
Students generate lists of arguments for or against certain ideas. These can either be actions proposed by a class, or a listing of arguments for and against ideas of historical or scientific interest.
Listing Pros and Cons
Proverbs: Wisdom Tales Without the Plot
Similar to the "Devil's Advocate" technique but in this approach the teacher makes statements that are obviously "stupid" in order to provoke students to generate statements or situations in which the statement makes sense. For example, "Food should be free." can lead students into a discussion of different economic and social structures.
Psychomotor Skill
Public Performances
Public Spelling
Encouraging students to submit their writing or creations to real-world publishers, or to publish their work themselves using desktop publishing techniques.
Puppets are useful for role play and presentations.
PWIM (Picture Word Inductive Model)
Inductive, inquiry-based vocabulary-building strategy that presents new words in conjunction with photographs.
Pyramid Strategy
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Q and A (Questions and Answers)
QAR (Question-Answer Relationship)
Exploration of the nature of answers. Are answers explicit or implicit in the reading, or are they internal to the reader?
Question-Answer Relationships (QAR) Strategy
Quadrant Cards
Question / Check / Connect
A strategy by Edwin S. Ellis for learning more about reading by asking questions about the graphics associated with the text.
Question Stems
Question the Author
Question, All Write
Question-Answer Relationship (QAR)
Exploration of the nature of answers. Are answers explicit or implicit in the reading, or are they internal to the reader?
Question-Answer Relationships (QAR) Strategy
Have students apply "who, what, when, where, why, how" to all problems. Or ask students to generate questions.
Questions and Answers (Q and A)
Questions Into Paragraphs (QuIP)
A reading and writing strategy by Elaine McLauglin in which students are taught how to use questions to research answers from multiple texts and incorporate them into a coherent paragraph.
Quick Drafting
Quick Glance
Pair activity in which students have a short period (typically 30 seconds) to share all they know by writing with symbols or drawings.
Pair activity in which students have exactly 30 seconds to share all they know.
Pair activity in which students have a short period (typically 30 seconds) to share all they know by writing in a graphic organizer.
Quintilian Progression
Model to guide assessment of writing in progress. 1st product: freely generated ideas and words. 2nd: student decides on organizational form of paper. 3rd (first written draft): student should aim for clarity. 4th: revise for correctness. 5th: revise for eloquence.
QuIP (Questions Into Paragraphs)
A reading and writing strategy by Elaine McLauglin in which students are taught how to use questions to research answers from multiple texts and incorporate them into a coherent paragraph.
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RAFT (Role/Audience/Format/Topic)
Post-reading activity in which students demonstrate understanding by writing for a specific audience.
RAFT - Role/Audience/Format/Topic
Rally Robin
Random Word Method
A creativity technique.
Randomized Questioning
In situations where the teacher wants to ensure that all students have an opportunity to answer questions, the teacher creates note cards with the students' names on them, then shuffles the cards. AFTER asking each question, the teacher reveals the name of the student chosen at random to answer the question.
Songs written and presented by students.
Reaching Consensus
Reaction Papers
Read Aloud
Teacher reads aloud to the class to improve comprehension, expose students to correct pronunciation, or to create positive feelings about reading or a particular book.
Read and Respond
Read and Respond
Read the Problem Again
Reader's Theater
Students adapt some of their reading to present to other students in the form of a play. These productions can be simple or elaborate and include posters, programs, sets, and costumes.
Reader's Workshop
Reading Comprehension
Reading for Information
A type of reading in which learners interact with text to collect information, or to improve their understanding of specific topics.
Reading Guides
Reading Response Log
Reading Roadmap
Map to guide students in their reading. Shows when to skim, when to read carefully, questions to consider.
Reading the Room
Reading and Writing the Room
Real-World Problems
Reality-Based Model
Developed by Glasser as a counseling technique. Useful in teaching students to manage their own behavior by helping them discover what they really in a situation, and socially acceptable ways of getting what they want.
Recall, Summarize, Question, Comment, and Connect (RSQC2)
A summarization technique in which students Recall (list) key points, Summarize in a single sentence, ask unanswered questions, Connect the material to the goals of the course, and write an evaluative Comment.
Reciprocal Teaching
Students take turns being the teacher for a pair or small group. Teacher role may be to clarify, ask questions, ask for predictions, etc.
Reciprocal Teaching - NCREL
Questions and answer session dominated by the teacher. Questions usually have a single correct answer.
To be learned, concepts need to be revisited many times and in a variety of contexts. Younger children may need to work with a concept twenty or more times to fully understand it, while older students and adults typically need to see and use a concept three or more times to be able to remember and properly use it.
Reflecting on the ME in WE
A metacognitive activity. Learner pauses to think about, and organize information gathered from reading, discussions, or other activities.
Reflection Logs
Reflective Discussion
A graphic organizer to help students connect what they learn in the classroom to real world events or issues.
Relay Summary
Team activity to summarize reading. One team member writes one sentences summarizing reading then passes page to teammate. Continues until everyone in team has added at least one sentence.
Teacher and students take turns asking each other questions about reading.
Research Papers
Research Project
Resiliency Training
Retelling Stories
Storytellers on Tour
Students can learn by revising their own work, or by revising the work of others.
Rewrite the Ending
RICA Method - Students Writing Test Questions
Role/Audience/Format/Topic (RAFT)
Post-reading activity in which students demonstrate understanding by writing for a specific audience.
RAFT - Role/Audience/Format/Topic
Room Display
Root Analysis
Word root activities to build vocabulary.
Rotating Review
Round Robin
Round-Table Discussion
At a table, 4 or 5 participants informally discuss topic among themselves and with the audience.
Turn-based brainstorming technique.
One way to maximize teaching time, shorten delays due to transitions, and focus student behavior is to establish routines on the first day. Points to discuss include procedures for turning in work. what is expected during the first minutes of class, and what materials are needed each day.
RSQC2 (Recall, Summarize, Question, Comment, and Connect)
A summarization technique in which students Recall (list) key points, Summarize in a single sentence, ask unanswered questions, Connect the material to the goals of the course, and write an evaluative Comment.
Storytelling Rubrics
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S.W.O.T. Analysis (SWOT)
Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) in a situation.
Sample Tests
Say It
Providing temporary support until help is no longer needed. Can take many forms (examples, explanations, organizers, etc.) but needs to build on student's existing knowledge.
Scale Drawings
Architects in Action (lesson plan)
Scale Models
Architects in Action (lesson plan)
Creativity technique by that uses the SCAMPER acronym to help students remember to try many variations on an idea. SCAMPER = Substitute, Combine, Adapt, (Modify, Magnify, Minify), Put to other use, Eliminate, (Reverse, Rearrange).
Reading or looking at material quickly to gain an overview of the content.
Scavenger Hunt
Schematic Drawings
School to Work
Science Kits
Using Science Kits to Construct Content Understandings in Elementary Schools (PDF)
SCOPE (Spelling, Capitalization, Order of words, Punctuation, Express complete thoughts)
A proofreading strategy.
Scored Discussions
Scoring Guide
Student-generated scripts and screenplays.
Script Theory
A theory about the structure of knowledge by Roger Schank. The core idea is that knowledge is stored as a series of scripts that we have composed based on our prior experiences. When some new event occurs, we try to fit the new information into our existing scripts. This reliance on existing mental frameworks makes script theory very similar to constructivism. Unlike constructivism, script theory is more concerned with discovering specific underlying shared scripts and formally recording them. Script theory is often applied to language learning and the design of educational software.
Script theory (R. Schank)
Scripted Cooperative Dyads
Pairs both read complex material, then alternate in roles of recaller (who summarizes and explains what was read) and listener (who listens, then corrects or adds to what was said by recaller).
A group problem-solving technique in which members add to three-dimensional models that depict either the problem itself or a potential solution to the problem. In the general sense, any three-dimensional figure or design.
SDAIE (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English/Sheltered Instruction)
A writing strategy by Edwin S. Ellis consisting of the following steps: Set goals. Examine your paper to see if it makes sense. Ask if you said what you wanted to say. Reveal picky errors. Copy over neatly. Have a last look for errors.
Seating Chart
Individual work by students as they work at their desks. May include reading, worksheets, writing , research, etc.
Students reflect on their performance and assess themselves.
Self-Assessment In Portfolios - NCREL
Students correct themselves during reading, speaking, or performing skills.
Self-Paced Learning
Self-Regulated Writing Strategy
Self-Selected Reading
Students select the materials to read. Improves motivation because students can select materials of interest to them.
Semantic Associations
Making connections between words based on meaning and context.
Semantic Feature Analysis
Chart or grid where students explore their existing knowledge about relations between concepts.
Semantic Feature Analysis
Semantic Map
Semantic Word Map
Semantic Word Map
Students can make more complete connections to concepts if all of their senses are stimulated.
Sequence Chains
Sequence Chain (graphic organizer)
Creating sequences from clues. Also a writing strategy and a team activity.
Service Learning
Learn & Serve America
Any activity at the beginning of a lesson whose function is to motivate students to participate in the learning to come and redirect the students' attention to the general objectives to be learned.. An effective set may be as simple as asking a question, or as complicated as a ten minute hands-on activity.
Set Breaking
The student follows a professional for several hours or a whole day to learn more about the work done by, and skills needed by that person. Often used in teacher education programs or apprenticeships.
Share-Pair Circles
Divide class into two equal groups and each group forms a circle. The inner circle faces outward and the outer circle faces inward, to form pairs of facing students. In response to teacher questions, each pair discusses their ideas, then one of the circles rotates to create new pairs. Repeat until the original pairs are again facing each other.
Share/Check Work/Review/Discuss
Shared Inquiry
Shared Reading
A teaching strategy employing oversized picture books from which the teacher reads aloud to a group of children.
Shared Reading: An Effective Instructional Model
Shared Stories
Students and teachers share personal stories to explore their shared and divergent values, cultures, and backgrounds.
Shared Writing
Each student contributes one or two sentences to a story written by the whole class.
Sharing / Responding
Show and Tell
Students bring in personal objects to share with the class.
Includes verbal and non-verbal communications between teachers and students.
Silent Reading
Silent Scavenger Hunt
Similarities and Differences
A form of comparison in which students first list all the similarities they can find between the two objects or concepts being compared, then they list all the differences.
Similarities and Differences
Similarity Groups
The Basadur Simplex approach to problem-solving. Basically a formal approach in which problems are defined, ideas proposed and evaluated, actions initiated, then a return to the problem-finding stage to refine the solution.
Simultaneous Translation
Sitters and Movers
Situated Learning
An educational theory by Jean Lave proposing that learning normally occurs in a specific context (i.e. with certain people or while performing certain tasks). Learning, then involves both social interactions and interactions with the real-life materials and places where the knowledge would be applied. Variations of situated learning would include apprenticeships and cognitive apprenticeships.
Situated Learning
Situational Role Play
Six Thinking Hats
A metacognitive strategy that encourages people to look at concepts from different perspectives. Each hat represents a mode of thinking. The white hat = look at data, red = feelings, black = judgment, yellow = positive attitude, green = creativity, blue = overview.
Six Thinking Hats
The use or demonstration of skills by the student.
Skill Inventory
There are two basic formats for a skill inventory. Individuals may either generate their own list of skills, or individuals may "check off" skills they possess from a list of skills. Used as a self-assessment in many fields but most often used as part of career exploration or professional development.
Reading or looking at material quickly to gain an overview of the content.
Teaching strategy to encourage students to participate in discussions. Sit up. Lean forward. Activate your thinking. Note important information. Track the talker.
Slide Show
A form of presentation by students. Slides can be a series of drawings, or can be generated and presented using software like PowerPoint.
Slip Writing
Individual brainstorming on paper followed by sharing of the written ideas in small groups.
Small-Group Instruction
SMART Objectives
Any of several techniques that involve grouping ideas that are written on small slips of paper.
Snowball Technique
A method to encourage consideration of the context in which a particular piece of writing was created: Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Speaker, and Style.
Social Development Theory
Based on Lev Vygotsky's philosophy that learning occurs through social interactions. Emphasizes the importance of cooperative learning groups, motivation, observation of models, and student attitudes.
Social Development Theory
Social Interactions
Social Learning Models
Albert Bandura's theory of learning through modeling observed behaviors.
Cooperative Learning - Huitt
Social Learning Theory
Social Science Inquiry
Social Science Inquiry
Portrayal of town meetings or sessions of congress (for example).
Socratic Dialogue
Socratic Method
Rather than "telling," teacher leads students to concept through a series of ordered questions.
The Socratic Approach to Character Education - Elkind and Sweet
The Socratic Method: Teaching by Asking Instead of by Telling
Socratic Questioning
Somebody Wanted But So
After reading activity that uses a graphical organizer to help students evaluate character ("somebody"), motivation ("wanted"), conflict ("but"), and resolution ("so").
Using Songs in the Classroom
Sort Cards
Words and images associated with topic are put on individual cards. Groups sort cards into categories and label and discuss categories.
Sound Burglar
Spear's Model
Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English/Sheltered Instruction (SDAIE)
Spelling Notebook
A student-generated list of words maintained by the student to remind them of words they need more work on.
Spelling Pictures
Students copy their spelling words by writing them in a pattern that "traces" a picture.
Spelling Pictures
Spelling, Capitalization, Order of words, Punctuation, Express complete thoughts (SCOPE)
A proofreading strategy.
Spider Map
A form of graphic organizer to help students see the relationship between details and the main topic.
Spiral Sequencing
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners beginning with simple concepts and then periodically revisiting the concepts and expanding on the concepts as is appropriate for the learner's cognitive level.. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, Whole-to-Part
Constructivist Theory - J. Bruner
Spirit Week
Spirit Week Day Ideas
Spongy Vocabulary Review
Participation in, or analysis of sporting events.
Spotlight On
Similar to "Student of the Week." The work and background of a single student is showcased to the class.
SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review)
An approach to studying and reading to improve comprehension and retention.
SQRRR: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review
STAD (Student Teams-Achievement Divisions)
Highly structured cooperative learning method following a "Teach, Team study, Test, Team recognition" strategy.
Stance Questions
Interacting with reading by taking different perspectives.
Standardized Tests
STaR (Story Telling and Retelling)
Teachers read stories to students then students retell the story by acting it out, answering questions, or writing about the story.
Similar to the Lotus Blossom Technique, but after identify topic, ask what questions can be created.
Step-by-Step Sequencing
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners as a series of steps. Often used to teach procedures. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Topical, Unknown-to-Known, Whole-to-Part
Sticker Partners
Sticking Dots
A method that allows individuals or groups to vote for their favorites from a list by sticking colored dots next to their choices.
Sticking Dots
Sticky Reading
Stir the Teams
Students are assigned to teams and each student in the team has a number (typically 1 through 4). Teams discuss their group answer to the teacher's question, then when the team is done they give a signal. When all teams are done, the teacher calls a number (from 1 to 4) and the students with that number rotate to the next group to share their team's answer with their new team. The procedure then repeats through the series of questions.
Acronym is useful to help students remember which aspects of their writing they should check when editing.STOPS stands for: Sentence structure, Tenses, Organization, Punctuation, Spelling
Story Activities
Story Frame
A guided reading tool that gives prompts to elicit information about the sequence of events that occur during a story.
Story Frame/Map
Story Impressions
The teacher presents ten to fifteen terms to students prior to reading. These terms appear in the same order that they appear in the reading. Students write a passage using the terms that they think predicts what will happen in the reading. Students share their predictions with others. Finally, students read, comparing their predictions (story impressions) with the reading.
Story Maps
Example Story Map
Story Method for Memorization
Each word to be memorized is included in a story made up by the student.
Story Pyramid
Story Related Reading
The exploration of texts related to the primary text. These activities, often cooperative, typically include reading related texts or stories, then making comparisons to the original story through writing or discussions.
Story Retell
Story Starters
Printable Story Starters (Elementary)
Story Structure Review
Students are asked to recall key features of a story using a blank story map.
Story Telling
Story Telling and Retelling (STaR)
Teachers read stories to students then students retell the story by acting it out, answering questions, or writing about the story.
Streaming Media
String of words
Structured Controversy
Students (in groups of four) "argue" about controversial topic using research to support their assigned viewpoint. Groups reach and present consensus.
Structured Note-Taking
Structured Note-taking
Structured Problem-solving
Structured Problem-solving
Student Assistance Program
Student Expectations
Often used as a first day activity, teachers can directly ask students what their expectations are for the class. Later in the course, students understanding can be assessed by eliciting information about student expectations for the upcoming topic.
Student Helpers
Student of the Week
Student Response Groups
Small groups of students who provide peer evaluation of the work of the other students in the group. Useful for writing or other creative projects because it gives the author an audience to experiment with before submitting work to a larger audience or for evaluation.
Student Teams-Achievement Divisions (STAD)
Highly structured cooperative learning method following a "Teach, Team study, Test, Team recognition" strategy.
Study Aids
The teacher provides students with carefully constructed tools to assist students in learning for specific structures or environments. For example, the teacher may distribute a "Guide to Using the Library" before taking students to the library to do research. Before a multiple choice test, the teacher may provide test-taking tips or tips on how to study for the upcoming test.
Study Groups
Study Guides
Study Skills
Stump the Teacher
Game where students make up questions based on a reading assignment. The teacher gets a point if he or she can answer the question, and the students get a point if the teacher fails to answer the question.
Stump the Teacher
Subsumption Theory
David Ausubel's subsumption theory describes the importance of relating new ideas to a students existing knowledge base BEFORE the new material is presented. This theory is applied in the "advance organizer" strategy developed by Ausubel.
Subsumption Theory
Success For All
Success for All Foundation
Suchman Inquiry
Like twenty questions. Teacher poses problem then helps students solve problem by answering "yes" or "no" to student questions.
Suggestion Box
Useful for collecting any form of anonymous feedback. Student opinions can be regularly collected as part of class activities, or the box could be used in the classroom as an informal method for students to make comments about activities in the classroom. Often most effective when paired with the Admit Slip/Exit Slip approach.
Sum It Up
Summative Assessment
Formative and Summative Assessments in the Classroom
Summative Evaluation
Super Heroes
Problem-solving technique in which students take on the roles of their favorite super heroes, then answer questions from the point of view of that character. For instance, if the class was discussing the problem of how to deal with water pollution from pesticide run-off, a student from the "Spiderman" perspective might propose that she could use her webs to capture insect pests on farms so farmers would not need to spray pesticides. In the same discussion, a student from the perspective of "The Flash" might propose that he could run through the fields at super speed, pick off all the insects, and take them to a place where they would not bother farmers.
Super heroes
Supervised Practice
Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review (SQ3R)
An approach to studying and reading to improve comprehension and retention.
SQRRR: Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review
Sustained Silent Reading
Using Sustained Silent Reading
SWOT (S.W.O.T. Analysis)
Analysis of Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) in a situation.
Create and distribute a syllabus (overview of the course) to students and parents at the beginning of the course. Provides students with valuable information about the upcoming concepts they will be learning along with behaviors and routines to expect.
Participants formally present material then respond to questions from the audience.
Synchronous Learning
Metaphors generated by the students are used to help them understand controversial issues or solve problems.
The use of the structure of language, or knowledge about the structure of language to solve problems or understand text.
Synthetic Phonics
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TAI (Team Assisted Individualization)
Combines individualized instruction with team rewards for meeting goals.
Talking Chips
Response management technique to encourage students who do not often contribute, and limit students who contribute too much to discussions.
Tape Assisted Reading
TAPPS (Thinking Aloud Pair Problem Solving)
Task Cards
Specific instructions or guides for student use at learning centers. May be an assignment, or how to practice skills.
Teacher Errors
Establish reward system for finding and correcting errors made by the teacher.
Teacher Expectations
A clear, written explanation of the teacher's expectations. This should describe desirable behavior, rules, and the steps needed to get a good grade in a course. For older students, this is often included in a syllabus handed out the first day. For younger students, this is part of the packet of information sent home to be read by the parents. As the course progresses, more detailed expectations can be revealed to the students to describe what is necessary to be successful on particular tasks.
Teacher's Background
Teachers are real people with families, hobbies, and former occupations. By sharing information about themselves with students, teachers establish themselves as both accessible and credible as a teacher.
Teaching for Understanding
Team Assisted Individualization (TAI)
Combines individualized instruction with team rewards for meeting goals.
Team Consensus
When a group response is desired, present methods to assist groups in creating responses that are satisfactory to all members of the group.
Team Product
Students work in teams to accomplish a task (either learning, or creating a physical product).
Team Reading
Team Teaching
Team Word Web
Teammates Consult
Team-based discussion-summary technique.
Teams-Games-Tournaments (TGT)
One student is chosen to leave the room while the teacher teaches a short lesson to the rest of the class. The absent student returns and is taught the lesson by the students. The student who was absent is given a (typically non-graded) quiz. Results of the quiz are used for reteaching.
Educational television programming is used in the classroom.
Tell and Retell
Telling the Story
Ten Important Sentences
Ten Plus Two (10 + 2)
Direct instruction variation where the teacher presents for ten minutes, students share and reflect for two minutes, then the cycle repeats.
Tent cards
Terminal Objective
Many variants, including paper and pencil, student generated, and take home.
Test A Friend
Text Frame
Models which show the format of material as presented in texts. Helps show the relationships between concepts. (ex. C=cause, E=effect) (cycle) C C-E-C-E (chain) E E C
Text Structure
TGT (Teams-Games-Tournaments)
The Last Word
Summary technique. Each letter in topic name is used to remember key ideas in topic. (example: snow, Six-sided ice crystals. Near center is dust particle One snowflake is usually made of more than one crystal. Water vapor freezes to form.)
Thelen's Group Investigation
Groups explore socially significant problems.
Thematic Units
Theme Song
Things in Common Sheet (TIC Sheet)
Team building activity where groups explore the foods, places, activities, TV, and movies they all like and all dislike.
Think Along
Think Ink Pair Share
Like Think-Pair-Share but with writing component.
Think Pad Brainstorm
Think Sheets
Teacher describes own thoughts while reading aloud to class.
Using a Think Aloud in the Classroom
Students think individually, then pair (discuss with partner), then share ideas with class.
Thinking Aloud Pair Problem Solving (TAPPS)
Thread (Discussion Board)
Threaded Discussion
Three Minute Pause
After or during instruction, ask students to pause and reflect on what was learned for three minutes. Students might work individually, in pairs, or in small groups to build summary.
Three Step Interview
Groups of four (a, b, c, d). Teacher assigns question. Step 1: a interviews b, c interviews d. Step 2: b interviews a, d interviews c. Step 3: All in group share what they've learned in their interviews.
Three-step Interview
Three-Stay One-Stray
Three-Two-One (3-2-1)
Writing activity where students write: 3 key terms from what they have just learned, 2 ideas they would like to learn more about, and 1 concept or skill they think they have mastered.
TIC Sheet (Things in Common Sheet)
Team building activity where groups explore the foods, places, activities, TV, and movies they all like and all dislike.
Tic-Tac-Toeing with Choice Boards in Any Classroom
Choice Boards (Tic-Tac-Toe Menus, Think-Tac-Toes, Learning Menus, Extension Menus)
Ticket to Leave
Closing activity where students respond in writing or verbally to short assignment.
Timed Drill
Timed Repeated Readings
Topical Sequencing
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners beginning with issues currently of interest, then tracing back the history of the development of that issue. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Unknown-to-Known, Whole-to-Part
Toss a Question
Total Physical Response® (TPR)
Tough's Model
TPR (Total Physical Response®)
TPR® Storytelling
Traditional Assessment
Sharing or explaining family traditions.
Collecting Family Stories
Transformation of Text
Supply students with a text and ask them to transform it from its original genre to a different genre.For example, supply prose and ask students to create a poem with the same essential ideas.
Transformative Learning
Transparencies are clear sheets of plastic on which both text and graphics may be copied. Transparencies may be used during direct instruction as a guide to the teacher, to allow them to eliminate using separate lecture notes, and also as a means to quickly show many graphics. Other uses of transparencies include: presentation of quizzes, problems of the day, jokes, cartoons, and to present problems that can then be turned over to students to complete for the class.
Trash or Treasure
Triangle Review
Turn to Your Partner
Teacher gives directions to students. Students formulate individual response, then turn to a partner to share their answers. Teacher calls on several random pairs to share their answers with the class.
One-on-one approach to teaching or reteaching concepts. May be done by teachers, peers (other students) or professional tutors.
Twenty Questions
Twin Tex
Two Cents Worth
Two Dimensional Matrix
A group activity in which students make associates between two lists of words.
Two Minute Talks
Two-Column Notes
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Uncommon Commonalities
Uncommon Commonalities
Unconscious Problem-Solving
Study problem until understand well, then take a break and relax to let unconscious mind work on problem.
Understanding Gauge
Unknown Objects
Bring an object to class that students are unlikely to recognize. Can be used as writing or discussion prompts, as subjects for an investigation, or even in an art class. Useful for encouraging students to ask questions.
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners beginning with unknown concepts and proceeding to known concepts. Used as a motivational technique to induce students to want to know more. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Whole-to-Part
Unsent Letter
Using objects or concepts to show skills or valuing.
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Value Clarification Discussion
Discussion during which questions are open-ended and with no one right answer. Used to develop values.
Value Line
Group members position themselves along a labeled line to reveal their opinions on particular topics, then group organizers assign members to heterogeneous groups based on those opinions.
Value Line
Venn Diagram
A form of graphic organizer. Commonly used in mathematics and comparisons.
Commercially produced tapes for educational purposes.
Students produce videotapes then review their presentations. Useful in improving metacognitive and communication skills.
Virtual Communities
Visual Aids
Any graphical aids used in presentations or to clarify or improve writing.
Visual Memory
Display picture for a second or two, then ask students to describe as much as they can remember from what they saw.
Vocabulary Genie
Vocabulary List
Vocabulary Match List
Vocabulary Overview Guide
Vocabulary Review
Vocabulary Self collection Strategy (VSS)
As a class, students nominate words they'd like to learn more about.
Vocabulary Squares
Students as volunteers at a hospital, day care center, the zoo, etc.
Voting Cards
Students can be given laminated cards at the beginning of the year to be used to express their opinions in class. When they agree with a statement, they might hold up a green card, disagreement could be signified with a red card, and yellow could be used to show indecision or uncertainty.
VSS (Vocabulary Self collection Strategy)
As a class, students nominate words they'd like to learn more about.
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Wait Time
How long a teacher waits after asking a question can influence the quality of responses provided by students. Increased "wait time" also leads to increased confidence in students and improvements in classroom discipline.
Walking Tour
Passages from reading are posted on individual pages around the room. Groups tour the room and discuss each passage, then summarize.
Wallpaper Task
Want Ads
Students write want ads. Varieties include "historical," "humorous," and as a famous character.
Webbing in writing.
Web Page
Writing and design of web pages.
Web Searches
Blogs, also known as weblogs, are online journals that can be used by the teacher as a means of sharing thoughts, assignments, or resources; or blogs can be created by students for the purpose of reflection, intergroup communication, or to fulfill particular assignments.
Using Blogs to Integrate Technology in the Classroom
The Web Quest Page
What Is It?
The teacher brings an object to class that is unfamiliar or has some historical significance. Ask students to identify the object or describe how it might have been used.
What’s My Line?
What’s My Word
Where Am I?
Pair activity where partner1 points to a place on a blank map and partner2 selects the location from a list or names the location. Partner1 checks the response with a key. Partners switch roles halfway through the list. Alternative approach: partner1 describes location (no maps) and partner2 guesses where it is.
Where Is It?
Where Were You?
Whispering Game
Whiteboard (dry-erase)
Whiteboard (electronic)
Who Am I?
Whole Language
A form of holistic learning.
Whole Math
A form of holistic learning.
An instructional approach in which objectives are presented to learners beginning with an overview of the whole model or idea, then proceeding to an analysis of the component parts. Compare to: Chronological, General-to-Specific, Known-to-Unknown, Part-to-Part-to-Part, Part-to-Whole, Part-to-Whole-to Part, Spiral, Step-by-Step, Topical, Unknown-to-Known
Who’s Got the Answer
Window Pane Lecturette
Word Associates
Similar to the Concept Attainment strategy, where students are shown a series of examples and non-examples. Students are shown a series of cards in which one of the cards does not "fit." Once the students identify the card that does not fit, they attempt to discover the word or phrase associated with the objects or ideas that do belong together.
Word Association
Word Bank
List or collection of words for students to choose from.
Word Call
Word Cards
Word Chain
Game that helps students categorize. Teacher supplies category and a first word, then students supply the next word "in the chain." The chain is formed having the next word start with the ending letter of the previous word. For example: Category = Things found in the kitchen. Words: SinK - KnifE - EggbeateR - RefrigeratoR - and so on.
Word Hunts
Word Maps
Word Problems
Word Search
Word Sort
Students sort the lists of keywords they are given into logical groups.
Word Wall
Students make predictions about reading based on a collection of key words and the name of the central topic. "Splash" refers to the random arrangement of the key terms around the topic at the start of the activity.
Work Sheets
Working Backwards
A learning center with a computer.
Wrap up
Many varieties, including creative writing, exposition, etc.
Writing Conferences
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X marks the spot
Reading strategy in which students flag passages as important (mark with an "X"), interesting (mark with a "!"), or something about which they have a question (mark with a "?").
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Yes, No, Maybe So
Yes, No, Maybe So
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Zone of Proximal Development
Activities centered on local zoos. Might include trips, design activities, or webquests.
An extension to the "In What Ways Might We" approach to creative problem-solving.
ZOOM: A Creativity Game
Zoom In Zoom Out

Teaching strategies, teaching strategy, teaching modes, teaching mode, teaching models, teaching model, teaching methods, teaching method, teaching activities, teaching activity, educational approaches, educational approach, instructional strategies, instructional strategy, instructional models, instructional model, instructional activities, instructional activity, learning activities, learning activity, assessment models, assessment model, alternative assessments, alternative assessment.

Corrections and suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I started compiling this glossary and writing the definitions in 1996 while working on my Master's degree in Education at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Since 1996 the number of strategies in the glossary has increased greatly but all definitions here are, and will continue to be, my personal work. I do give my permission to educational organizations to republish or reformat and print this information for group training purposes. All reuse of these definitions, including excerpts of the Glossary, should include a reference to my name, the full name of the Glossary, and this link:

Kelly Jo Rowan ( and Kelsey Rowan

Last updated: 27 July, 2013

©1996-2013 Kelly Jo Rowan